Jews bank on Netanyahu’s visit for minority status

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AHMEDABAD, JANUARY 16: The Jews in Gujarat, who are just 300, are hopeful that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the state on Wednesday would “accelerate the process” of getting minority status for the community in Gujarat. “Last October, we had submitted a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani seeking minority status for the community. On January 1, Director of Developing Caste Welfare K G Vanzara called us and gave a positive response. Netanyahu’s visit may or may not fasten the process, but we are hoping it does,” said Aviv Divekar, secretary of Magen Abraham synagogue, the only synagogue in Gujarat. Jews enjoy minority status in two states — West Bengal and Maharashtra.

According to Divekar, there are around 130 Jews in Ahmedabad and 160 in the rest of Gujarat.

“Instead of giving minority status state-wise, it should be given to all the Jews in the country. We are over 4,000 Jews in the country, and that is a small number. It is important that we Jews get the minority status in Gujarat soon,” said Jewish author Esther David. Interestingly, seven schools in Ahmedabad that are owned by members of the Jewish community have received the minority status.

Meanwhile, as Ahmedabad gears up to welcome the Israeli PM, the members of the Jewish community of the city have been assigned a spot near the Sabarmati Ashram where they will be allowed to stand and wave to Netanyahu and Modi during their visit. The community leaders had, however, sought for a meeting with Netanyahu, but were denied due to security reasons. “We plan to carry a banner, welcoming both the prime ministers.

We wanted Netanyahu to visit our synagogue, but we did not get permission,” said Benjamin Reuben David, president of the Bene Israel community of Gujarat. Twenty students from the Best School will perform “Israeli folk dances” during the roadshow to welcome the Israeli PM. (Courtesy:IE)