NEW YORK-JERUSALEM (EJP)—The funerals of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were killed in the terrorist attack against the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, will likely not take place before Monday afternoon, the Chabad-Lubavitch website said Sunday.
Israeli embassy officials in India are preparing the necessary paperwork and awaiting clearance from New Delhi to transport the deceased to Israel for burial.
Other victims identified at the Chabad House include kosher supervisors Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, a US born scion of the Volover Chasidic dynasty who lived in Israel, and Bentzion Chroman, an Israeli from the town of Bat Yam, and Yocheved Orpaz, an Israeli who was in India to visit her daughter and grandchildren. A sixth victim has yet to be officially named.
Rikva Holtzberg’s parents, Rabbi Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg of Afula, Israel, arrived in Mumbai on Friday to be with their grandson Moshe, who was rescued from the Rohr Chabad Center – also known as the Nariman House – by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who hided from the Islamist terrorists for 12 hours.
The family marked Moshe’s two-year birthday.
An Israeli air force plane, due to take off for Mumbai on Sunday afternoon to repatriate the bodies, had been delayed for a few hours, a foreign ministry
spokesman said in Jerusalem, after earlier reporting that it had left.
The plane was due to take representatives of the army, the rabbinate and foreign ministry, as well as forensic experts, but had been held up as all the necessary visas had not been obtained.
The Chabad-Lubavitch Youth Organization in Israel, relaying a request from the Rosenberg and Holtzberg families, asked the Israeli government to facilitate the nanny’s entry to the country.
The Israeli media also highlighted the case of Sandra Samuel with news websites reporting calls for her to be given leave to come to Israel indefinitely or even be declared a so-called righteous gentile for her role in saving two-year-old Moshe.
"We didn't get any application yet but that doesn't mean we won't approve it," said interior ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad.
"If we get the application, I am sure that we will consider all that took place."
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg had praised the nanny's "heroic" rescue of
the son and said that "during a time of terrible sadness, her courage
reaffirms our faith in the capacity of good to triumph over evil."
Nearly 200 people are now known to have died in the attacks which ravaged the Indian commercial capital, hitting five-star hotels and other targets frequented by Westerners as well as Beit Chabad.
Israeli newspapers gave blanket coverage to the Mumbai carnage in Sunday's editions, their first since the confirmation of the Israeli dead late on Friday.
The top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily devoted over a dozen pages to the attacks, the Maariv newspaper used its first 17.
Yediot carried extensive criticism of the Indian commando operation and the length of time it had taken to overcome the militants.
"Ten terrorists, who, according to the findings of the investigation, arrived by rubber raft at the shore of Mumbai carrying machine guns, grenades and dry rations in their luggage, succeeded -- almost inconceivably -- in keeping almost 1,000 commando troops and counter-terrorism combat units occupied for three days, in several battle sites," one article said.
But the Israeli foreign ministry put out a statement to domestic media distancing itself from the criticism of the Indian security forces.
“We are convinced that the Indian forces did everything they could to prevent harm from coming to the captives and civilians during the storming of the Chabad House," Yediot's website quoted ministry spokesman Yossi Levi as saying.