Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

In­dia and Is­rael ties have been his­tor­i­cally strong

In the pre­In­de­pen­dence era, many se­nior In­dian Army of­fi­cers, doc­tors, teach­ers, lawyers and judges were Jews

- NISSIM MOSES Nissim Moses is a his­to­rian and pres­i­dent of the In­dian Jewish Her­itage Cen­tre The views ex­pressed are per­sonal

Ev­ery Jew from In­dia has al­ways held In­dia in great es­teem right through our more than 2,000 years of peace­ful so­journ in In­dia. Even to­day, ev­ery Jew from In­dia speaks, dresses and par­tic­i­pates in ev­ery cul­tural ac­tiv­ity, which re­minds him of In­dia: whether it is in songs, movies, dance or pub­li­ca­tion of a news­let­ter in Marathi. Ac­cord­ing to Sharad Pawar, the In­dian-Jewish com­mu­nity has made Marathi an in­ter­na­tional lan­guage.

Is­rael has al­ways sought friend­ship with In­dia from even be­fore the in­de­pen­dence of both coun­tries from the same im­pe­rial power that played the same bi­ased game against both our peo­ple. But thanks to re­cent po­lit­i­cal events our coun­tries have grown even closer. The bond will only grow stronger.

The In­dian Jewish com­mu­nity has played an im­por­tant part in fos­ter­ing these re­la­tions. It should be noted at the time of in­de­pen­dence, many se­nior of­fi­cers in the In­dian Armed Forces were Jews. Many founders of med­i­cal fac­ul­ties, lead­ing doc­tors, se­nior teach­ers, lawyers and judges were from the In­dian Jewish com­mu­nity. Few peo­ple know that Bom­bay Univer­sity was the first in the world to re­vive the teach­ing of He­brew as a sec­ond lan­guage way be­fore Herzl even dreamt of the cre­ation of the State of Is­rael.

Ma­hatma Gandhi was op­er­ated upon at the Sas­soon Hospi­tal in Poona and his per­sonal physi­cian and friend was Abraham Solomon Erulkar and some of the best schools in Ahmed­abad have been es­tab­lished by Jews. Even the sig­na­ture tune of All In­dia Ra­dio was writ­ten by Wal­ter Kauf­man, a Jew. Af­ter the es­tab­lish­ment of re­la­tions, the first Is­raeli Am­bas­sador, Ephraim Dowek, worked on es­tab­lish­ing strong diplo­matic and cul­tural ties be­tween our two coun­tries.

The young peo­ple of our coun­tries are no less en­am­oured by each other. From a small trickle of scep­ti­cal youth in the early 1990s, tourism from Is­rael to In­dia has grown to sev­eral tens of thou­sands ev­ery year and the same is hap­pen­ing in the other di­rec­tion. Many of them keep re­turn­ing to In­dia for a more en­hanced ex­pe­ri­ence of hos­pi­tal­ity, kind­ness, cui­sine and na­ture. Fi­nally, many Jews may have left In­dia for Is­rael but there is one com­mu­nity the Chit­pa­van Brah­mins, known to be of Jewish de­scent. Their sec­ond names such as Savarkar, Mul­gaonkar and Ko­latkar have roots in He­brew and ‘kar’ emerges from the He­brew word for farmer.

 ?? SHUT­TER­STOCK ?? Bom­bay Univer­sity was the first in the world to re­vive the teach­ing of He­brew way be­fore Theodor Herzl even dreamt of the cre­ation of the State of Is­rael
SHUT­TER­STOCK Bom­bay Univer­sity was the first in the world to re­vive the teach­ing of He­brew way be­fore Theodor Herzl even dreamt of the cre­ation of the State of Is­rael
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