PM Modi visit holds special meaning for Indian Jews in Israel
RAMLA: In a curry in central Israel, a welcome sign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets customers before meeting the rich fragrance of spices emerging from the kitchen.
The three-day visit of Modi + Tuesday morning – the first of an Indian PM in Israel – is a turning point for the Jewish state, a country that seeks allies for friendship and powerful clients for its advanced military equipment.
However, for members of the small Jewish indigenous community in Israel, travel is a source of real excitement and a unique opportunity to increase their visibility.
“There is not a single home (India) not to mention it,” said Elazar Ashtivker, owner of the Maharaja restaurant in the city of Ramla, south of Tel Aviv.
“This is historical,” he said.
The 33 fast-talking parents, born in India, opened the table in their first incarnation in the 1980s because they felt “the community was in decline.”
Initially, the restaurant serves almost exclusively to the Indian community.
But in the 1990s, the tendency of Israelis to visit Asia after completing their military service has become very popular and many returned home with a taste for spicy Maharaja food.
The restaurant serves what Ashtivker calls “traditional Indian food”, but also sells imported peppers, vegetables and spices.
The wording on the poster is in the colors of the Indian flag and invited members of the Indian community, in Hebrew and in English, to a meeting on July 5 with Modi in Tel Aviv.
“There’s a lot of excitement,” Ashtivker said. “Everyone has registered and everyone is going.”
“If you have searched for the Indians in Israel on the 5th, you will not find them. They will all be in the convention center,” he said with laughter.
It is estimated that the number of Jews of Indian origin in Israel approximately 100,000, according to Eliaz Dandeker, historian and author community documentation.
Even those of Indian origin born in Israel maintain a “deep connection” to their ancestral land, Dandeker said, even through music, film, food and cultural events.
The events in Israel present the appearance of the players of India.
The Jews went to India during the last 3000 years and, in general, have not suffered religious and racial persecution in the country.
They began to come to Israel en masse in the late 1940s and early 1950s for religious and other reasons.
Many of them settled in rural communities to become farmers, while others settled in outlying cities across the country.
In the early years after the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, many immigrants from India have left their names and traditions in the framework of “perfect down time” fusion.
“There is now a greater openness” to Indian culture, said Dandeker, 34. “Younger generations want to know more.”
In his spice shop near the Maharaja Shaul Divekar, who emigrated from infancy since childhood, picks up the red lentils with a bag in a plastic bag behind the counter chatting with two customers.
The conversation fluctuates between the products come from India and the Prime Minister who is about to do.
Note Divekar proudly that he is responsible for one of seven Israeli Indian buses Ramla to meet Wednesday with Modi.
“It’s special,” said Divekar PM Modi, a Bollywood music video playing on a laptop behind the cash register.
“He loves the Jews, proudly offers a great bearded man about 30 years old, which is near the Indian DVD collection in the Divekar boutique, Hebrew strong Indian accent.
Dandeker, historian, points out that the Jews Jews in Israel were called “invisible” Jews, since they are neither Ashkenazi nor Sephardic Europe, Africa and the Middle East.