“We are Indian Jews. First Indians, and then Jews.” This is what the Jewish community living in Mumbai has to say, in spite of the 26/11 terror attack in which many Jews were ensnared in the eddy of violence.
The Jewish community in the city, numbering less than 4,000, believes that it was not their community that was targeted by the terrorists.
“The terrorists killed our people because we are Indians, and not because we are Jewish. Even though one of their targets was the Chabad House, the terrorists also attacked non-Jews at Cafe Leopold, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and at CST,” states Solomon Sopher, president of the Baghdadi Jewish community.
As of now, the city’s Jews have put their faith in the government and security agencies to ensure their safety. But with threats from different sources, all the community members can do is call for peace and plead not to be associated with the ongoing violence in the Middle East.
Ralphy Jhirad, president of the Tiphereth Israel Synagogue, says there is no animosity between any communities in India, and everybody — Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Jew — lives in harmony. “The violence in Palestine and the terror attacks in India are not linked. There are just a few terrorist organizations which want to instill hatred against a particular community in the minds of people. In India, Muslims and Jews are the best of friends,” says Jhirad.
Sopher says that although the Indian Jews have no ill feeling against Palestine, they feel Israel has the right to retaliate and defend herself against Palestine’s attacks. “However, we don’t support violence, and the Jews in India should not be targeted because of what is happening in Israel,” he adds.
“When such a situation arises, we have to take responsibility and unite as Indians and help those in agony,” Jhirad ends.