India and Israel share a strong bond of Friendship
A couple of month’s back some 100 odd Indian-Jews from the Bnei Menashe community voluntarily immigrated to Israel from the Indian state of Mizoram. The Bnei Menashe community claim to be descendants of the Jewish tribe banished from ancient Israel in 8th century BCE. Now they are back “home” after 27 centuries of exile. As Indians, it does pain to part ways from our Jewish brothers and sisters from Mizoram but also happy that they are finally back to their holyland and land of their forefathers. One wishes them to be great ambassadors of Indo-Israeli friendship.
India’s pioneering idealogue and revolutionary Veer Savarkar wrote in 1921-22 in his seminal book Hindutva on how it will gladden every Hindu as much as our Jewish friends if a Jewish state is created in Palestine and how the Jews deserve a nation which they can call their holyland and fatherland (land of their forefathers); just like how India is for Hindus. This book was written much before the horrors of Holocaust where the Nazis exterminated six million innocent jews all over the Europe during the World war II. It is also interesting to know Savarkar’s thoughts on the establishment of new Jewish state of Israel in 1947. Indians who follow the right history are sympathetic to the Jews and strongly condemn the Holocaust. Hindus and Jews both have been victims of genocide by crusaders of other faiths; who have consistently in the past centuries sought to wipe out our civilisations from the face of the earth. A strong Indo-Israel relationship is the need of the hour to protect our democracies; as several nations today are facing unforeseen threat like never before getting swarmed by radical Islamic terrorism.
India is one of the few countries in the world if not the only one to have accepted Jews with an open heart with no prejudice whatsoever. There has never been anti-semitism in India as Indians and the Hindus being majority community are liberals at heart and have accepted refugees belonging to different faiths over centuries. The Parsis who arrived in India as refugees escaping the brutal persecution by Islamists in then Persia, are a successful and thriving community today. Countless other communities among them the various Jewish communities make India the great nation it is.
Indo-Israel relations have always been looked through the prism of Palestine which needs de-hyphenation. India has a strong nationalist leader now with PM Narendra Modi same as Israel under the able leadership of PM Benjamin Netanyahu. It is thus no surprise that Modi’s state visit to Israel sometime in early July 2017 – a first by an Indian Prime minister is awaited with bated breath. Both Modi and Netanyahu have great rapport and regularly wish each other during festivities on twitter.
Recently, Indian PM’s Passover greetings on twitter was warmly acknowledged by PM Netanyahu.
Thank you, my friend, for your kind holiday greeting. The people of Israel eagerly await your historic visit. https://t.co/Is1NmfWiMF
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 11, 2017
India and Israel are natural allies in almost every field from science and technology, agriculture, defence, innovative startups, combating terrorism, tourism to name a few. Many Israeli technology companies in India are looked highly upon by Indian professionals for their focus and innovation. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel is bound to take the ties of both the nations to great heights and if one would want to do a calculated forecast; 21st century may well belong to India and Israel. It was unfortunate that full diplomatic relations between India and Israel were only established as late as 1992. Several factors attributed to this delay. Post PM Modi’s ascent to power; the trade and commerce and cooperation in other fields have sky-rocketed. The Arab world should also realise the Indo-Israel relationship is not at their expense and avoid seeing this as a zero-sum game. Domestically, few opposition parties in India like the AAP, CPI(M) and others who still go around bashing Israel and support Palestine are finding no takers for such outdated views.
Israel and India, both victims of jihadi terror originating from its respective neighbourhood and are constantly under the threat of encirclement by powerful regional forces. It is imperative; India and Israel have close collaboration in dealing with cross border terrorism and other internal strifes threatening the secular and democratic fabric of both the nations. It is inspirational as to how Israel has managed to grow into a technology powerhouse and a developed nation despite the threats surrounding her.
In popular culture as well as people to people contact, Indians have a great deal of respect for the Israelis. The Israeli spy agency – Mossad is looked high among young Indians and Israeli defence forces as one of the most advanced in the world. The successful Operation Entebbe and many other counter-terrorism operations by Israel over the years have been a great source of admiration and fascination among Indians. Commander Yonatan Netanyahu lost his life during the daring Operation Entebbe but ensured the mission was a success. He was the elder brother of current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. It is thus no surprise that Israel under Netanyahu has a no-nonsense approach to deal with any form of external threats.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]ourism is another sector which has great scope for development. Today many young Israelis prefer to visit India to have a relaxed time post their mandatory conscription with the IDF and appreciate the local Indian culture, food, freedom, air of spirituality, diversity and vast beauty of scenic India. Israelis are also emotionally well connected with India and Indians as they see India as a country with no history of anti-semitism where several Jews are living peacefully with local population over centuries. No wonder important Hindu heritage tourist places like Hampi & Pushkar are part of every Israeli tourist’s itinerary. Israel is also actively courting Indian tourists with many vegetarian and vegan food options. The numbers of tourists would drastically go up once the travel costs reduce with cheaper options to fly to Israeli destinations.
One sincerely hopes with PM Modi’s upcoming visit to Israel, the two nations turn a new page in cooperation and friendship which could well be the “friendship of the century”.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.