Ashkelon: In the city of Ashkelon, Israel, the Indian community has come together to express their heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his support in the face of recent challenges. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, engaged in a phone conversation with PM Narendra Modi, where the Indian leader conveyed India’s strong support for Israel. With this, the Indian community in Israel is accepting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words with great trust and anticipation.
Speaking to the news agency ANI, Ilana Nagaukar, an Indian-origin woman in Israel, explained, “Yesterday, a missile struck here, resulting in vehicle fires and a power outage in nearby buildings. We feel a sense of danger, but we maintain our faith in our army. This is our home, and we have no intention of leaving. We want to continue living here in peace.”
Another woman of Indian origin, Rikki, thanked PM Narendra Modi for supporting Israel’s residents. She said, “We are thankful to PM Modi that he is supporting us. He’s doing a lot of things for us, for Israel, and for our community in India. And we think that the things that he is doing for us, it’s very strong.”
The terror of yesterday’s attack by Hamas in Ashkelon left behind a series of acts of destruction and apprehension. Permanent residents, including the Indian community, had their vehicles damaged during the attack.
In response to the challenges faced by Indian residents in Israel, there are efforts underway to facilitate their safe return to India. The visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has generated hope that the mission to repatriate Indians from Israel will be successful.
Simultaneously, the Israeli army has declared that it has regained control of the Gaza border, which had been breached by the Hamas armed group. At the same time, the Israel Defence Forces have announced that they have attacked about 80 centres in northern Gaza.
Indian Community in Israel
According to the information provided on the official website of the Embassy of India, ”There are approximately 85,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel. The main waves of immigration into Israel from India took place in the 1950s and 1960s. The majority is from Maharashtra (Bene Israelis), and relatively smaller numbers are from Kerala (Cochini Jews) and Kolkata (Baghdadi Jews). In recent years, some Indian Jews from Mizoram and Manipur (Bnei Menache) have been immigrating to Israel. While the older generation still maintains a deep bond with India, the younger generation has become increasingly assimilated into Israeli society. There are about 18,000 Indian citizens in Israel, primarily carers employed by Israeli elders to take care of them, diamond traders, I.T. professionals, and students.”
What’s happening in Israel?
On the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah (Saturday), Hamas, a terrorist group, executed an assault on Israel, similar to the 1973 Yom Kippur War, marking a milestone in the conflict. Thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, accompanied by explosive devices and the use of bulldozers to breach the security fence that encircles the blockaded Palestinian enclave. Hamas militants deployed a variety of unconventional means, including motorbikes, pickup trucks, motorized gliders, and speedboats, to infiltrate Israel, targeting cities such as Ashkelon, Ofakim, and Sderot.
In response to this, Israel declared war on Hamas on Sunday and launched a series of airstrikes aimed at the group’s positions. Defence Minister Yoav Gallant imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, leading to severe disruptions in the supply of essential resources, including electricity, food, water, and gas.
The Israeli military rapidly assembled tens of thousands of troops and heavy armour near the Gaza border, mobilizing 300,000 reservists for an operation known as “Swords of Iron.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to reduce Hamas strongholds in Gaza to rubble, despite the fact that the territory is home to 2.3 million people who have endured an Israeli-Egyptian blockade for over 15 years.
Israeli airstrikes persisted in Gaza on Tuesday, along with reports of restored control over the border and evacuations of communities situated near the frontier. Concurrently, Hamas fought back with a barrage of rockets aimed at Ashkelon on Tuesday, bypassing Israeli air defences and causing damage to residential areas.