Foreword to Israel: A journey – prolonged yet successful!

The historical, geographical and political manifestation of an astounding, in fact prodigious will exhibited by a tiny little community! That is it – Israel! Braving grueling challenges, this nation, with its cultural legacy dating back thousands of years, kept alive and burning, its national pride and its pride of religion; and even regained its land in return for tireless struggle.

For thousands of years the Israeli community was separated from its motherland and from the Promised Land.

This community suffered extreme hardship and tribulation in several countries and despite it, the faith and the sentiment of this community remained unchanged.

Arriving in the land of India (Bharat) by the sea route, it is now centuries that the Israeli community has settled here. Among them, those who made their home in Alibag and the vicinity, the district of Thane and Mumbai in the state of Maharashtra, were referred to as the ‘Bene Israel’.

The Bene Israel (‘the Shanivar Teli’ or the ‘Saturday oil pressers’ as they were called in Maharashtra), mingled freely and amicably among the Indian (Bharatiya) community. The Hindus too on their part, did not ever bother or ill-treat them. For centuries now, the Jews have been residing in Kerala, Chennai, Manipur, Mizoram, Surat and Andhra Pradesh apart from Maharashtra.

Also, the Bene Israel, in other words, the Indian (Bharatiya) Jewish community has to its credit, a notable contribution in the building of modern India.

The Indian (Bharatiya) and the Jew communities share a unique relation. The Hindus and the Jews have, both endured many a foreign invasions, withstood and survived them and even triumphed in them.

And so this inspiring history of Israel, the progress that this nation achieved over the last 70 years and in extreme adverse circumstances at that, leaving the world in wondrous dazzle, are what every person, who aspires to attain great heights in life must know and understand. Hence this new series in the daily ‘Pratyaksha‘.

The coming times have in store, a huge outburst of war, of dissension along with that of man-made disasters and the world could find itself gradually engulfed in its flames. However, should India and Israel stand together, joining hands firmly united, the competence to confront all these impending dangers, could be generated. Again, should Japan, the USA and Russia extend their hands to join in, in this handshake, the devastation resulting from all the above calamities, could be averted to a considerable extent.

I trust that thus is also the Will of God, exactly.

– Dr. Aniruddha Dhairyadhar Joshi