Israel President pays homage to 26/11 terror victims

Mumbai, Nov 21 (IANS) Five days before the eighth anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday paid tributes to the victims and martyrs at a memorial meeting here.

Accompanied by his wife and First Lady Nechama Rivlin, President Rivlin wrote his comments in the memorial book kept at the Hotel Taj Mahal.

Later, they exchanged greetings with the staff of the iconic hotel which had borne the brunt of the 60-hour-long terror attack November 26-28, 2008.

Rivlin was accompanied by Maharashtra Governor C. V. Rao, Protocol Minister Ram Shinde, Israel Ambassador to India David Carmon and Consul-General in Mumbai David Akov.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor Rao recalled the pain of the victims, the men, women and even children, hotel staff, tourists, etc during the dastardly strikes at multiple attacks which left 166 dead.

“How on earth, a two-year old child can be held hostage for 14 hours and his parents killed brutally? That reaffirs the fact that terrorists are inhuman and have no religion,” Rao said, referring to the brutal killing of 29-year-old Israeli Rabbi, Gavriel N. Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, at the Nariman House in Colaba where they ran the Chabad House.

Their two-year old son, Moshe was saved from the terrorists’ bullets by their Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, and later the duo was taken to Israel, where they have settled.

Lauding the contribution of the Jewish community to the progress and development of India which is “disproportionately high” compared to their population, Rao said Maharashtra last year accorded ‘Minority Status’ to them to help preserve and protect their distinct identity and cultural traditions.

The special memorial meeting was organised by the Israeli Embassy at the hotel where the governor later called on President Rivlin and discussed various issues of mutual interest.