Highlights:

  • S Jaishankar expressed that there is a need to better document the heritage and history of the community
  • He added that those who chose a new life in Israel are a basis for creating a new bond between the two sides
  • He voiced his views while conversing with the members of the Indian Jewish community and Indologists in Jerusalem

External affair minister, S Jaishankar expressed that the Indian diaspora has served as an umbilical cord that has nourished relations between both sides and there is a need to better document the heritage and history of the community.

Jaishankar voiced his views while conversing with the members of the Indian Jewish community and Indologists in Jerusalem on Sunday. The External Affairs Minister is on his first visit to Israel and is holding discussions with officials to strengthen bilateral ties.

He expressed that he was happy to be in Israel, a “land with which we have ties of centuries” and amid the Indian Jewish community that has “in many ways been an umbilical cord”, which has nourished these relations.

The Minister noted that some Indian Jews were uprooted in more difficult times and went against their will, while others made “more prescient choices” to move out of the country. He continued, “But among all of them, I would say that the Indian Jewish communities is in many ways very unique because one, like other communities, it is a community that has existed peacefully in India for hundreds of years, which maintained its Jewish identity despite a long period of isolation from the other Jewish communities.”

S Jaishankar added that those who chose a new life in Israel are a basis for creating a new bond between the two sides. He stressed that the community has carried some flavors of India that have been retained or assimilated. The influence of the mangalsutra and mehendi among Bene Israeli, and the adorning of Torah arks with Jasmine garlands including the use of mantra by Cochini Jews.

He uttered, “It is, therefore, not surprising that people you say, ‘Israel is my fatherland and India is my motherland.” He noted that there is an urgent need to trace the Indian Jewish community and Indologists to document the heritage and history of the community and societal cross flows.

He continued, “How do we preserve the memory and experiences of the community elders? How do we listen to the younger generation of the community, understand their aspirations and make them a part of this living bridge? How do we enhance the reach of the work being done by Indologists both within the community and outside? We will be happy to hear from you and would support your endeavors in this direction.”

Following the meeting, he tweeted, “Appreciate their visible enthusiasm for doing more partnerships with India. Many post COVID priorities including digital, health, agriculture & green growth are natural areas for our collaborations.” He further cited that he had encouraged Israeli businesses to concentrate on Indian opportunities and take advantage of the country’s business-friendly policies.

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