Mumbai: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised the Jewish community for helping strengthen ties between his country and India.
Interacting with members of the community at the iconic Taj hotel overlooking the Arabia sea, Netanyahu praised their contribution in preserving Jewish culture.
He also thanked and acknowledged the community members of cementing India-Israel relations.
Several leaders from the community shared stories about their experiences in living in India, a participant in the interaction, held on Thursday evening, said.
Netanyahu was informed of how some Jewish people served in the Indian Army, he said.
Another community member shared how some Jews migrated to Pakistan when the Partition happened but had to move back to India from Karachi during the 1967 Palestine war and how they feel safe in India.
At Mumbai’s Magen David synagogue, worshippers were excited about the first visit to India by an Israeli leader in almost 15 years.
Netanyahu became only the second Israeli prime minister to visit India and the first since Ariel Sharon in 2003. His visit comes six months after his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visited Israel.
Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, said the reciprocal visits and warm ties between the two countries are significant to Jews in India.
Jewish community in Mumbai marked Netanyahu's visit with the launch of Namaste Shalom, a regular monthly magazine on bilateral relations between the two friendly nations.
The magazine was launched at the Magen David Synagogue at Byculla in south Mumbai, Ralphy Jhirad, the editorial board member of the magazine, said.
Jhirad, who is also the president and managing trustee of Bene Israel Heritage Museum and Genealogical Centre, said President Ram Nath Kovind, Modi and Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon have welcomed the magazine and sent congratulatory messages.
"The magazine is planned to carry forward the great initiative of Modi and Netanyahu to strengthen India-Israel relations and provide a platform for exchanging views between Indians and Jews the world over," Jhirad said.
In his message to the magazine, Modi said, "The deep friendship of the Indian people with Israel is something worth celebrating. The bond between the two nations goes back centuries in time and will continue to grow stronger."
President Kovind in his message said, "India-Israel relations are weaved with threads of culture, civilisational values and mutual trust."
"This may be the first time that a magazine devoted to India-Israel relations was launched in a Jew synagogue, underlining the close ties between the two nations," Jhirad said.
Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 07:49 AM