Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have a packed schedule during the Mumbai leg of his visit today, when he will have breakfast with business leaders, pay tributes to Mumbai terror attack victims and attend a ‘Shalom Bollywood’ event among other engagements. Netanyahu landed at the airport here tonight for the Mumbai leg of his six-day India visit, a senior official told PTI. He will have a ‘power breakfast’ with select business personalities, including Anand Mahindra, Ajay Piramal, Adi Godrej, and Chanda Kochhar. He will later address the India-Israel Business Summit at the iconic Taj Hotel in South Mumbai. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will also attend the summit, sources said.
There may be a one-on-one meeting between Fadnavis and Netanyahu, after which the chief minister will host a lunch for the Israeli premier and his delegation, they said. This will be followed by a wreath-laying ceremony for 26/11 Mumbai terror attack victims. Netanyahu will then proceed to the nearby Nariman House, where he will meet 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg. Moshe’s father Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and mother Rivka were killed at the Nariman House during the 2008 attacks. The Jewish couple ran a cultural and outreach centre for the Chabad-Lubavitch movement at the Nariman House in south Mumbai’s Colaba area. Moshe came to Mumbai yesterday, returning to the place where he was orphaned nine years ago. Netanyahu will later meet around 30 members of the Jewish community at the Taj Hotel.
There are about 5,000 members of the Jewish community living in India, but most of them call Mumbai their home. The city had a sizable Jewish population, but around 33,000 Jews migrated when Israel was created. Mumbai has three distinct Jewish communities – Bene Israel Jews, Baghdadi Jews and the Malabar Jews. For them, the visit by the Israeli prime minister is about reconnecting with old friends and strengthening old bonds. Netanyahu will cap his hectic schedule by attending the ‘Shalom Bollywood’ event, also at the Taj Hotel.