Ramle: Indo-Jewish community in Israel must play a role akin to the Indian and Jewish Diaspora in the US to build strong bridges of friendship between the two countries, a top Indian diplomat has said.
"Your Indian blood gives you the capacity to bring together and to build bridges between people of different faiths and creed."
"So I can think of no better group than you the Indian community who can be the pillars on which we will build strong bridges of friendship between the people of India and the people of Israel", India`s envoy to Israel Jaideep Sarkar said.
Indian Jews from all four communities - Bene Israel, Baghdadis, Cochinis and Bnei Menashe - came together at the recently held Indian Jewish National Convention, the first attempt in a show of unity to celebrate diverse cultural features of areas they come from in India.
"Eventually you must play the role that the Indian and Jewish Diaspora has played in the United States of bringing India and Israel closer to America", Sarkar said at the convention.
The envoy acknowledged that "it is of little surprise" the role the community has played in "building the State of Israel" but said, "...Now I think it is time that your voice should be heard more clearly".
The state of Israel was built by people who came from different parts of the world. They all brought with them something from the places they came from. As Indians you brought along with you your tradition of tolerance, of openness, of understanding and of hard work, he added.
He also said: "I look forward to the day not many years from today when the guest of honour at the national convention will be an Indian member of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament).
"I look forward to the day also when I can go to the house of the Israeli Ambassador in India and have home cooked Indian food in his house," he said.
One of the special features of the convention was the large-scale participation of Bnei Menashe community youngsters who have immigrated here from Manipur and Mizoram.
"I didn`t know before that we have such an impressive Indian community here", Asaf Thouthang, who came from north Israel, said.
"Our ties to our motherland India stays firm and strong. We the 80,000 Indian Jewish community in Israel are representatives of that unique heritage and are proud of it.We also take pride in the strengthening Indo-Israel ties in various fields", Benny Benjamin, the convener of the convention said.
There are 80,000 Indian Jews from the four different communities living in Israel.