Jewish Agency to help family of Mexican Jew killed in Mumbai

Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich had planned to make aliya yesterday.

Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The National Insurance Institute says it can't award the status of terror victim to Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, 50, who was killed by terrorists in Mumbai's Chabad House last week. A native of Mexico, Shvarzblat Rabinovich had planned to make aliya on Monday to join two of her three children who already live here. But although the terrorists are said to have targeted Chabad House because it was Jewish and connected to Israel, Shvarzblat Rabinovich's children, who have already made aliya, can't receive the benefits awarded to the families of the four other Israeli victims of the attack. The Ministerial Committee for Ceremonies and Symbols, headed by Absorption Minister Yaakov Edri (Kadima), announced Sunday that it would recognize all the Israelis murdered in the Mumbai attacks as "victims of terror" - a special status that affords families of the deceased a wide range of benefits. But because Shvarzblat Rabinovich was not yet officially an Israeli citizen nor a permanent resident here, the NII cannot by law regard her as a victim of terror. "We are really sorry that we cannot help this family, but we are bound by the [terror victims] law that does not cover Jews or potential Israeli citizens killed outside of Israel in terrorist attacks," said NII spokesman Haim Fitussi. To help the family, the Jewish Agency for Israel will provide immediate relief and assistance to the relatives. JAFI spokesman Michael Jankelowitz said that the agency's chairman, Ze'ev Bielski, planned to lobby the NII to retroactively recognize Shvarzblat Rabinovich as an Israeli citizen. "Until they find a way around the law we [the Jewish Agency] will cover the costs of her funeral in Israel from our special fund for terror victims," he said, adding that Shvarzblat Rabinovich's children - Manuel 18, who made aliya two months ago, and Jean, 24, a student at Tel Aviv University who came to Israel in 2004 - would receive additional assistance from the agency's terror victims' resources. "It isn't much," admitted Jankelowitz. "The fund is supposed to serve only as an accompaniment to government benefits, but it will help the family until the NII finds a way around this law." Shvarzblat Rabinovich arrived in Mumbai just over three months ago and had been working at the Chabad House, helping to provide kosher meals to the stream of visitors that pass through the center on a daily basis. While in India she began to contemplate aliya and started the process with the JAFI representative in Mumbai. She had completed all the relevant paperwork and meant to arrive here Monday. She will be buried at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday at Jerusalem's Har Hamenuchot cemetery.