Mumbai terrorist: We were told to kill Israelis

Dec. 1, 2008

The only terrorist captured by Indian authorities following the Mumbai attacks told interrogators during questioning that he and his men were sent specifically to kill Israelis to avenge "atrocities" against the Palestinians, the Times of India reported Sunday.

Amir Kasab, 21, told investigators that this was why they targeted the Chabad House, also known as the Nariman House in Mumbai, an outreach center meant for local Jews and Jews touring India, including Israelis. Sources said Kasab's colleagues killed in the operation had stayed at the Nariman House in the past.

"They have stayed in Nariman house on rental basis identifying themselves as Malaysian students.' said a source. Police were trying to determine why Nariman House rooms were given to non-Jews, the Times of India reported.

Israeli embassy representatives and rescue personnel have identified the six Israeli and Jewish victims killed in the assault that began Wednesday night across India's financial capital, including its Chabad center.

Zionist Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided on Saturday evening to dispatch an IAF plane with teams of medical and forensic experts to Mumbai on Sunday to aid in the identification of victims.

Authorities on Saturday named one of the Israeli victims as Yocheved Orpaz, 60, after her family identified her body on Saturday afternoon. Another woman was identified as a Jewish resident of Mexico, whose name has not yet been released.

The Chabad-Lubavitch movement confirmed Friday evening that Israeli-born American rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, 29, and his wife Rivka, 28, were among the dead.

Two other victims from the Chabad house who have also been positively identified are Bentzion Chroman, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, and Rabbi Leibish Teitelbaum, a U.S. citizen who lived in Jerusalem.

The fifth victim of the attack, Norma Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz, was due to immigrate to Israel on Monday to join her two children who are already here - Jean, 24, a student living in Tel Aviv, who has been here for four years, and Manuel, 18, who arrived two months ago to study in a yeshiva in Bnei Brak.

The Zionist State has decided to recognize the Israelis murdered in the Mumbai terror attacks as victims of terrorism and pay for their funerals, but not all are happy with this decision. The family of Rabbi Aryeh Leib Teitelbaum has informed the government that it would like the State not to intervene with his funeral.

According to a family member, "Holding a Zionist funeral for Teitelbaum, who was a Satmar Hasid, would desecrate the dead man's honor." The family demanded not to have a government representative at the funeral and that the casket, which will be flown to the Holy Land today, would not be covered with the Zionist flag.

They also asked that Teitelbaum's body would be released immediately upon the plane's arrival, so that they would be able to hold an intimate funeral for him as soon as possible.

Shmuel Poppenheim of the Haredi Community anti-Zionist stream told Ynet: "I'm sending a message from the family. We don't want the State to meddle in our grief. Suddenly Israel has an interest to show the world that it is also a victim of global jihad, so it decides to throw a big ceremony with a coffin wrapped in a flag. We object to this. It pains us and offends our values."

Poppenheim, who attended the same yeshiva as Teitelbaum, added: "He wasn't killed as an envoy of the State or as a Zionist person. He simply went there as a kosher supervisor on behalf of an American kosher certification system. He himself was an American citizen, and although he was a resident in the Holy Land he wasn't an Israeli national.

"The mere fact that he was living here, in a closed congregation, doesn't give the country permission to exploit his death."

Our comment:

The Mumbai tragedy should provoke in us not only shock and sorrow but also introspection. Wars are unfortunately nothing new to the world, and terrorism is increasingly becoming the chosen instrument of small, extremist groups within the many conflicts of the world, of which the Pakistani-Indian conflict is one. What is new here is that Jews are not simply caught in the crossfire, but being specifically targeted. Innocent Jews in a synagogue in faraway part of the world were killed - as revenge for the actions of the Zionist state. If this can happen, are any of us safe?

How long will we Jews allow the Zionist state to sully our name and cause us to die as offerings on the altar of its struggle? Let us show the world clearly that there is a difference between Zionists and Jews!

The family of Rabbi Aryeh Leib Teitelbaum has done a good job of showing the world that distinction, by insisting that the Zionists not take part in paying him his last respects. May we do the same work in the absence of any horrific tragedies, and may Jews and gentiles in all parts of the world live in peace.