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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Parallels

It felt odd to be sitting in Israel, calling friends and business associates in India to make sure everyone was OK in the wake of a brutal terror attack... but that is exactly how I've spent my morning.

Despite its attractive and exotic 'strangeness' that draws Israeli tourists like a magnet, India and Israel share many parallels:

  • We are both ancient peoples working the kinks out of our new/modern states.
  • We both freed ourselves from the yoke of English rule and declared Independence within six months of one another.
  • We both have had to deal with ongoing problems from a restive Muslim minority despite the creation of neighboring Muslim states (Jordan and Pakistan, respectively) that were explicitly intended to prevent such problems.

The hotel in Mumbai where I spent four days last week has now become ground zero for most of the hostages that are being held... and the Chabad Rabbi and his wife who hosted me for many meals (during last week's trip and my previous one) have both been taken hostage and are reportedly both unconscious. 

There is still reportedly fighting going on at the Chabad House and the most recent news is that one of the gunmen has just been killed 

The only small glimmer of hope in all this is that the Rabbi's (and his wife's, obviously) toddler son and nanny were released during the night.  It is from the nanny that they found out that the little boy's parents are unconscious.

Many of the international news outlets are still shying away from calling this series of coordinated attacks in Mumbai, 'Islamic'... but I can assure you that this terror is not the work of a Buddhist or Hindu group.  It is, once again, the religion of peace. 

The exact reasons for the attack remain unclear (at least to me), but the deliberate targeting of foreigners... and Jews... in a country that has been extremely welcoming to both, is the hallmark of Islamic extremists.

I join many others in expressing my deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in this brutal attack, and add my prayers to all those who are hoping for a peaceful resolution to the hostage scenarios currently playing out at the Trident/Oberoi complex, Taj Hotel and Nariman House (the name by which the locals know the Chabad House).

Posted by David Bogner on November 27, 2008 | Permalink

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I'm so glad you're home safe and sound, from both India and hospital. Refuah shlema to you, and tefillot for the hostages, the wounded, and those who have lost loved ones.

Posted by: annie | Nov 27, 2008 11:12:12 AM

Amen... and justice on the perpetrators.

Posted by: Rahel | Nov 27, 2008 11:14:08 AM

Avi says, "The difference a week makes, dear friend. Here you are, poked and prodded in an Israeli hospital... but we still have you."

We shake our heads in wonder, as weep at the losses thus far of good and decent souls, and daven for the safe release of Gavriel Noach ben Frieda Bluma, Rivka bas Yehudis, and all other captives.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Nov 27, 2008 11:21:23 AM

I googled your term "religion of peace" - and came up with this site:

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

If you look at the list of Islamic terror attacks worldwide in just the last month alone - its staggering.

Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Nov 27, 2008 11:56:57 AM

In retrospect your stay in hospital must look pretty good. Everybody at home, an we your readers, are so glad you're back safe and well.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Nov 27, 2008 3:23:24 PM

You have many reasons to be thankful today....and an equal number to say "gomel"..

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Nov 27, 2008 5:37:44 PM

I will keep your friends in my thoughts.

We had a conference call with my Bangalore team last night. I can only imagine what was going through their heads at the time.

Posted by: Lachlan | Nov 27, 2008 5:59:15 PM

I've been riveted to the news reports and VERY glad that the articles I've read come out and say quite openly "islamic extremists". I'm so glad you are home! When I heard about the Chabad House, my heart sank. Of course my prayers are with them and all the others still held captive.

Posted by: Maya | Nov 27, 2008 6:11:33 PM

So glad you are safe in Israel, but my heart goes out to your friends and colleagues. It is the "not knowing" that is so hard. I am still trying to contact my upstairs neighbour and friend who I spent many happy hours with when I lived in Mumbai 15 years ago. She lives very close to the city centre and is a frequent visitor to the Taj.

Posted by: Noa | Nov 27, 2008 8:39:54 PM

Glad your ok. My cousins recently returned from India and had nice things to say about it. How scary.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 27, 2008 11:49:46 PM

I hope that somehow the Rav and his wife survive. I heard that the maid was released and smuggled the boy out.

Posted by: rickismom | Nov 28, 2008 2:27:15 AM

I'm so sorry about your Rabbi friend and his wife. I kept them in my thoughts every moment after we emailed (and it apparently did as much a fat lot of good as you would expect, from an atheist 8000 miles away). Thank goodness for the cook, and her quick thinking to get the baby out, is all I can think.

Posted by: Tanya | Nov 28, 2008 10:29:58 PM

My condolences to the families of the victims, Jews and non-Jews alike...and my thanks to HaShem that He saw fit to have you return safely home before all of this horror took place.

Strange, isn't it, that while only a small minority of Muslims are terrorists, the great majority of terrorist acts are committed by Muslims. And thus it will remain, as long as the great majority of Muslims indicates their acceptance of this status quo by their silent acquiescence...and the rest of the world tolerates their presence.

There are times when I think a hydrogen bomb dropped smack-dab on the Ka'aba in Mecca would send an appropriate message. I am not proud of myself for saying that...but, there - I said it.

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 29, 2008 6:25:25 AM

So spooky.

Glad you came home before this happened.

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Nov 29, 2008 11:54:06 PM

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