The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8


by Hana Levi Julian

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that two Israeli hostages have been freed in Mumbai after spending more than 30 hours holed up in the Oberoi-Trident Hotel. The two businessmen, who were identified only by their last names, Weingarten and Zamir, were rescued Friday morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. Israel time.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David, neither was injured and both are in good condition following their harrowing ordeal. “I can confirm that they’re out, they’re free… they made contact with our Consulate, our people saw them and they’re okay,” he told Israel National News, adding that both planned to return to Israel but that a timeline had not been set.

The news was not as positive about Jews who were still being held hostage in the Chabad House, located in the Nariman House building near the hotel. The Foreign Ministry firmly denied the numerous and repeated reports by Indian media that Jewish hostages had been rescued from the Chabad House.

“The reports are simply untrue,” said David. “No one has been freed there, and no one has come out. We don’t know what the situation is inside. There is no confirmation of the number of people there either,” he emphasized.

“There are Israelis who stop in there at Chabad all the time, who can visit, get a meal, join a prayer… we have no way to know many people were there,” he said. “There is a lot of battlefield fog, you know, we get a lot of reports, ‘It’s over,’ then, ‘It’s not over,’ then, ‘It’s over,’ again.”

David was grim regarding the condition of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who were reported to be unconscious when terrorists first stormed the Chabad House Wednesday night. “Of course we are very worried for them, but we have no information at this point,” he said.

An Israeli media report of four bodies being found in the building was brushed aside. “These were old reports by the local woman who brought out the Holtzbergs’ one and a half-year-old son when she came out early Thursday morning,” said the Foreign Ministry spokesman. The family’s babysitter, Sandra Samuel reported when she escaped that four people, including the Holtzbergs, were lying unconscious. She remained with little Moshe until his grandparents arrived from Israel early Friday morning to care for him.

David also debunked a rumor that an Israel Air Force helicopter had been seen flying around the roof of the Oberoi-Trident Hotel late Thursday night. “Not true,” he said. “Absolutely not. No Israeli security or military units or personnel or anything of the sort are in India, nor are there plans to send them. Fruitful imagination,” he added.

Commandos who entered the building Friday morning were moving “very slowly, deliberately, through each floor” reported an NDTV news anchor, who stressed that the cameraman was deliberately “shying away from showing any close-up visuals or pictures that might give away the position of the commandos to the terrorists.”

Indian forces are also slowly but surely gaining control of two luxury hotels in Mumbai, and more than 100 hostages have escaped or have been rescued during the fighting.

Operations at the Oberoi-Trident Hotel has been declared over. Reporter noted that relatives crowding around the hotel are “scared and frustrated,” adding, “They don’t understand why they don’t have any news of their loved ones if the operation is over,” she said.

Inside commandos continue to methodically search from room to room, trying to determine how many bodies are still inside.

Indian army sources have claimed that the terrorists had received commando training from the Pakistan Army and had been provided with boats and logistical support by the Mumbai underworld, according to India’s IBN Live television news.

The Chabad House was one of 10 sites that were struck by some 25 terrorists who apparently infiltrated into Mumbai by sea and then fanned out through the city. Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky of Chabad World Headquarters in New York released a statement on behalf of the movement overnight:Once again, terrorism has reared its evil head, this time in Mumbai (Bombay) India. Our Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish Community Center, located in Nariman House in the Colaba district, is still occupied by the terrorists.

As of Thursday (Nov. 27) evening, we have not yet heard from our representatives in Mumbai, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who head the center. The Holtzbergs’ 18-month old son, Moshe, was rescued early Thursday morning and is in the custody of trusted friends.

Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters, through its global contacts, continues to vigilantly monitor this tragic situation as it develops.

We pray for the speedy, safe release of all the hostages and those yet missing, and for the healing and complete recovery of all those wounded. We express heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of each of those who have been brutally murdered in this senseless barbaric attack.

There is also grave concern over the fate of at least two other Jews as well, both of whom had flown to India on business to serve as Kosher food supervisors in Indian plants that provide ingredients to kosher food companies in the U.S.

Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum of Jerusalem, the son of the Volover Rebbe of Boro Park and son-in-law of the head of the Toldos Avraham Yitzhak Chassidic sect, was in Mumbai and hasn’t been heard from, as is the case with his co-worker Ben Tzion Korman of Bat Yam.

The public is being asked to pray for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, Aryeh Leibish ben Elta Nechama Maltshi and Ben Tzion ben Elka, as well as “anyone else affected by the tragedy.”

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