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Israel's Indians happy with welcome given to Modi


israels-indian-community-happy-with-welcome-accorded-to-modi

The Indian community in Israel is overjoyed and proud over the extraordinary welcome accorded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with many saying they have not seen such a reception even for American presidents.

TEL AVIV: The Indian community in Israel is overjoyed and proud over the extraordinary welcome accorded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with many saying they have not seen such a reception even for American presidents.

There are 8,0000 Jews of Indian-origin living in Israel belonging to four communities - Bene Israel from the Mumbai region, Cochinis from Kerala, Baghdadis from Kolkata region and Bnei Menashe from Manipur and Mizoram.

"I immigrated from India at the age of 16. I was so sad to learn that we did not have diplomatic ties then. As a child I did not understand the implication of it. I would tell my friends here that in India we were treated with respect and people loved the Jews," David Nagani, a bus driver, told PTI. "I always wished that people would understand that Indians have nothing against Jews. I am overjoyed and proud to see how Modi is being treated and welcomed by the Israeli establishment. No other leader, in my memory, has been so warmly received here. I cannot even remember a US leader being so warmly hugged by Israeli leaders."

Others echoed similar sentiments with most having taken leave from work to attend PM Modi's address to the Indian community in Israel. Indians from all over the country have registered to attend the event at the Exhibition Grounds in Tel Aviv.

The Indian community in Israel is eager to listen to Modi, who became the first Indian prime minister to visit the country.

About 6,000 people of India-origin will attend the event, with many "overjoyed" and "proud" that their dream of hosting a premier in Israel has come true.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also be joining Modi for the event.

The Israeli premier has accompanied Modi almost like a shadow since he landed.

The two leaders have also constantly referred to each other as "my friend" and used superlatives while expressing their appreciation for each other.

"I have always proudly announced to people in Israel that ours was the only country where there was no trace of anti-Semitism. I would tell critics of India who would point at India's support for the Palestinians that I am a proud Jew from India," said a 74-year-old Eliyahu Yosef.

Israel is also hosting a few thousand caregivers from India who are employed in caring for the elderly.

A group of 10 caregivers from Kerala, with no prior training in dance, will also be performing at the community event. They were trained by choreographer Arun Stephen over the last two weeks.

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