External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar lauded the Indian-Jewish community in Israel for their impact on Israeli culture as well as being a unique diaspora that melded the cultures and traditions of both countries together. Jaishankar started his three-day visit to Israel on Sunday during which he will meet President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and foreign minister Yair Lapid.
"Very pleased to meet the Indian Jewish community in Israel. Valued their manifold contribution to India-Israel ties. Confident that they will bring us even closer together in the coming years," tweeted Jaishankar.
He noted that the bond between Indians and Israelis went back centuries with many practices of the Indian-Jews having originated in both countries like mangalsutra and the mehendi among Bene Israelis, the practice of baat pukka for formalizing marriages among Baghdadi Jews, and symbolic adorning of the Torah arks with jasmine garlands. Even Indians had a pilgrimage site for a Sufi saint, Baba Faridi, in Jerusalem, the minister recalled.
Festivals like Onam, Holi and Diwali were also celebrated alongside Hanukkah and Purim by the Indian-Jewish community which was an "umbilical cord" like tie between the two nations, said Jaishankar.
Jaishankar also highlighted the community's contributions in enriching India's literature and arts with the likes of Nissim Ezekiel who was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi award