Memorial plaque for Jewish victims of 26/11 Mumbai assaults unveiled at Israel synagogue

Eilat (Israel), November 27

Jewish outreach movement Chabad has unveiled a plaque at its synagogue in this southern Israeli coastal city in memory of six Jews killed in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, demanding that the Pakistani perpetrators of the carnage be brought to justice.

Rav Hecht and First Secretary at the Embassy of India in Israel Rohit Mishra unveiled the plaque mounted on a wall inside the synagogue.

“To the memory and rise of souls of Rabbi Gavriel Noah and Rivka Holtsberg, who were martyred during the time of their holy mission in a terror attack at Chabad House in Mumbai, India, from which the message of Torah was being spread all over the area.

“And for the four guests who stayed in Chabad House at the time of the attack, and were also martyred: Rabi Gavriel Taitelbaum, Mrs Norma Rabinovich, Rabi Ben Zion Kurman, Mrs Yocheved Orpaz. May their souls be bound up in the bond of eternal life,” read the 3A paper size plaque that was unveiled on Thursday.

Engraved on a hard plastic plate, the message was personally drafted by Rav Hecht.

The Mumbai Chabad House at Nariman Point was one of the targets of the attacks. Ten terrorists of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) carried out 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.

Over 166 people, including 28 foreigners from 10 nations and nine terrorists, were killed and over 300 others were injured in the attacks which began on November 26, 2008. In November 2012, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman among the Pakistani group, was hanged to death in Pune.

Israel has called upon Pakistan to bring the LeT “criminals” involved in the attacks to justice.

“Exactly 12 years ago the world was stunned by the news emerging from Mumbai: 178 Indian citizens and 29 foreign citizens, among them 8 Israelis were murdered in multiple terror attacks,” Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director General incharge for Asia and the Pacific at the Israeli foreign ministry said in a tweet.

“I would like to convey my deepest sympathy to the families, and to praise the spirit of the citizens of the city of Mumbai. I call upon the government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to bring the criminals from the Lashkar-a-Taiba to justice,” he wrote.

The Chabad Movement and Jews of Indian origin in Eilat have also requested Mayor Meir Itzhak Ha Levi to set up a 26/11 memorial square in the city on the lines of the one dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 attack.

The mayor has reacted favourably to the proposal, extending all help and support, representatives of the Sitar Organisation for Indian Immigrants in Eilat said.

Fleur Hassan Nahoum, deputy mayor of Jerusalem for foreign relations, said those who masterminded and funded these brutal attacks should be punished.

“Today Israel mourns with India on the anniversary of the senseless acts of terror in Mumbai that took the lives of 166 people, including the Holtzberg family from Israel and other members of the Chabad House,” Nahoum told PTI.

“India has always been a beacon of tolerance for Jewish communities and we should not stop until we find the masterminds and funders of these brutal attacks and bring them to justice,” she said.

Former Israel ambassador to India Mark Sofer, who was the envoy at the time of the Mumbai carnage described the “slaughter” as a “traumatic atrocity of the highest order”.

“I was Israeli Ambassador to India at the time of the slaughter and can say without compunction that this was a traumatic atrocity of the highest order,” Sofer tweeted.

“Our hearts and prayers are with those killed by the terrorists and we send our deepest condolences to their families,” he wrote.

Ceremonies to pay respects to the victims of the 26/11 attacks were also held in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva on Thursday.

At a separate ceremony held at Beersheva Cricket Club that was mostly attended by Jews of Indian origin and Rabbi Meir Simcha of the Chabad Movement, the attendees condemned Pakistan and called for India and Israel to stand together in the fight against terror.

“We are proud to have friends like India. Our scriptures say that the word ‘Hodu’ (Hebrew word for India) comes from Hodaya, which means thanks and gratefulness, and we genuinely feel thankful to have friends like you all. We share this pain and it strengthens our resolve to stay together,” Rabbi Simcha said.

Israeli lawmaker and former minister of defence Moshe Ya’alon also paid respects to the victims of 26/11.

“Some of those behind the attack, to this day, have not faced justice. Israel, India and the entire Western world are united in preserving the legacy of the victims, and in collaborating on the fight to eradicate terror throughout the world,” Ya’alon said in a tweet.

People had also gathered to pay their respects to the victims of the Mumbai attacks in Tel Aviv, Rehovot and Jerusalem on Wednesday. They held posters of victims, pictures of the mayhem in Mumbai and flags of India and Israel.

“Terrorists from Pakistan, who perpetrated these horrific attacks hoped that by striking the places where our countries and people come together, they would succeed in driving us apart. But they failed miserably in their attempts as this actually brought the people and governments of India and Israel closer than ever before,” said Pramod Sharma, counsellor at the Embassy of India.

“India and Israel are now strategic partners cooperating in several spheres, including against terrorism,” Sharma said. — PTI

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