Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to Israeli boy Moshe Tzvi Holtzberg, who was two-and-a-half years old when his parents were killed by Pakistani terrorists in their Mumbai home in November 2008. Moshe, who turned 13 last month, observed his coming-of-age ritual Bar Mitzvah, which some Israeli scholars compare with the thread ceremony Upanayana.
"Shalom and Namaste from India! I am very happy to learn about your bar mitzvah. As you make this important transition and cross a significant landmark in the journey of your life, the courage of Sandra and prayers of the people of India will continue to bless you for a long, healthy and successful life," PM Modi said in a letter to Moshe on November 27.
Moshe lived with his parents at Mumbai's Nariman House, also known as Chabad House. The boy was rescued in a daring move by his nanny, Sandra Samuels, who was hiding in a room downstairs when the terror strike now known as 26/11 Mumbai attacks unfolded. Six Jews, including Moshe's parents Rabbi Gabriel and Rivka Holtzberg, were killed in Chabad House.
Pictures of Ms Samuels holding the little boy close to her chest after escaping from the place was reported widely.
"Your story continues to inspire everyone. It is one of miracle and hope overcoming tragedy and immeasurable loss. The perpetrators of the cowardly terrorist attack on November 26, 2008 in Mumbai clearly failed. They could not subdue our vibrant diversity. Nor could they dampen our spirit to march forward," PM Modi said in the letter.
"Today, India and Israel stand together even more determined against terrorism and hatred. I warmly remember meeting you in Jerusalem, along with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I hope that your wish to return some day to Chabad House in Mumbai as its Director comes true," PM Modi said.
In a meeting with PM Modi in July 2017 in Jerusalem, the young boy had expressed his wish to visit Mumbai. "I hope I will be able to visit Mumbai, and when I get older, live there. I will be the director of our Chabad House... I love you and your people in India," Moshe told PM Modi, who hugged him.
India issued 10-year multiple entry visas to Moshe and his grandparents to ease their travel in August 2017.
With inputs from PTI