Tel Aviv: In a major boost to promotion of Hindi in Israel, Indian businessmen here have announced a grant of about USD 33,000 for students learning the language, during World Hindi Day Celebration at Tel Aviv University.
The grant by the businessmen engaged at the diamond exchange here will support travel expenses of students, who excel in Hindi at the varsity, to enable them to visit India to sharpen Hindi language skills during the next five years.
The candidates will be selected through "Kaun Bharat Jayega" contest similar on the lines of famous television show "Kaun Banega Crorepati." They will be accompanied by a Hindi alumni of the University.
"It is a matter of pride for us to see so many people learning our national language in Israel and to see such enthusiasm for Indian culture. It is an effort from our side to promote a resurgent India in Israel," Ranjit Barmeja, a leader of the Indian diamond community at the exchange here, told a news agency.
Barmeja added: "we have been living here since 1980s, before the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and we hope this contribution will help in strengthening our bilateral ties."
Not to be left behind, the Dean of Humanities at the University, Prof Eyal Zisser, also announced instituting a fund to support field trip to India for students learning Hindi. The details will be worked out later by the department of East Asian studies where Hindi is taught along with Japanese and Chinese.
Hundreds of enthusiasts participated in the Hindi Day celebrations at the University yesterday during which students staged plays including Shakuntala, sang Bollywood songs, read Sanskrit shlokas and enacted scenes from Hindi films.
"Foreign companies working in India have started to advertise now in Hindi as they have understood that they can touch the hearts of 100 crore Indians only through Hindi. Those who know Hindi do have an edge while doing business in India," India`s Ambassador to Israel Jaideep Sarkar told the audience during the event.
Thanking Genady Shlomper, Hindi teacher at the varsity, Sarkar said "he has been the flag bearer of Hindi language for decades here and served wholeheartedly and selflessly towards the promotion of the language."
Shlomper, a proponent of Hindi as an official language at the UN, was honoured by the Indian government at the 8th World Hindi Conference in 2007 in New York for popularising the language in Israel.