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04 Jul 2017

#ModiInIsrael: Jewish Indians celebrate Modi's arrival

Israel's Jewish Indian community waits excitedly for Modi

Narendra Modi's visit to Israel is historic as it's the first trip by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish nation.

For Israel, which seeks global allies, Modi's three-day visit is a proud moment.

But it seems no one is more excited about Modi's visit than Israel's small Jewish Indian community.

Modi will be holding a special rally for the Indian diaspora in Jerusalem

In context

Israel's Jewish Indian community waits excitedly for Modi


How did Jewish Indians migrate to Israel

Members of the Jewish faith made their way to India over 3,000 years where thankfully, they didn't face any religious or racial persecution.

Several Indians immigrated to Israel following its statehood in 1948 but many of them abandoned their Indian names and culture.

Yet, there's more openness to Indian culture in Israel today with current generations wanting to know more about their heritage.

Excitement builds

"He's special," says Israel's Jewish Indian community about Modi

Israel is home to an estimated 100,000 Jewish Indians who are attempting to increase their visibility with Modi's visit.

Elazar Ashtivker, who owns the Maharaja Indian restaurant in Tel Aviv, said nearly every single Indian household is talking about Modi.

He said everyone he knows has signed up to attend Modi's rally.

"He's special," a Jewish Indian man said about Modi.

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"Invisible Jews"

Jewish Indians hope Modi will generate interest about them

Historian Eliaz Dandeker has dubbed the Jewish Indian community in Israel "invisible Jews" due to their small population.

He said Indians have reached prominent positions in the Israeli military and in other fields but they don't "stress their origins."

Dandekar and others hope Modi's visit could help generate interest within Israel about the Jewish-Indian community.

"We expect it to help advance our community," said Ashtivker.

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