Kochi jews in israel elated; over 6,000 indian jews to attend modi’s tel aviv meet
Jews from Kochi settled in Israel are ‘overjoyed’ and ‘excited’ as Narendra Modi began his historic visit to Israel on Tuesday even as they hope to take up the issue of denial of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards to Indian Jews in Israel with the Prime Minister.
KOCHI: Jews from Kochi settled in Israel are ‘overjoyed’ and ‘excited’ as Narendra Modi began his historic visit to Israel on Tuesday even as they hope to take up the issue of denial of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards to Indian Jews in Israel with the Prime Minister.
Over phone from Kadima, about 35 km off Tel Aviv, Aaron Muttath, said the entire Israel is abuzz with Modi’s visit. “For the past three to four days, everyone here is discussing the Prime Minister’s visit. We are all excited,” he said. Aaron’s family shifted to Israel in 1970 when he was just 12 years old. He has a house in Paravoor in Ernakulam district, and makes it a point to visit Kerala at least once a year.
Dr Shifra Muttath, wife of Aaron, said: “This is a path-breaking visit.”
Shifra went to Israel in 1990 after completing her dentistry course in Kochi and in the country of her forefathers she met her future husband, who incidentally is from Kerala. Shifra said a cultural programme arranged for Modi on Tuesday was cancelled owing to security reasons, much to the disappointment of the Indian diaspora.
According to her, youngsters are not getting OCI cards as they have undergone army service. “We have compulsory army service in Israel. So, it’s unfair to deny OCI cards just because we have done army service,” she said. Tirza Lavi, whose entire family relocated from Kochi to Israel back in 1971, is also one of the organisers for Modi’s public meeting on Wednesday.
“There will be a gathering of over 6,000 people in Tel Aviv comprising Indian-origin Israelis with their families (spouses and children) meeting with Modi on Wednesday evening. Many buses have been organised for the event for all the Jews from Kochi,” she told Express over phone from Tel Aviv.
“I was invited to have a seat in the VIP part of the convention and also to get a photo with the PM,” Tirza said, words failing to betray her excitement. For Jewish couple Samson Pallivadikal, 71, and Miriam Artzi Pallivadikal, 68, who are based in Rehovot, about 20 km off Tel Aviv, the visit of Modi comes at a time when they are in Kochi for their annual visit. “We are proud to have Modi in Israel, the first Indian Prime Minister ever to visit the country,” said Samson. “Yes, it’s a big miss for us,” said Miriam. “We planned our trip to Kerala early, and hence could not change the plans,” she said.