New Delhi [India]: In a world grappling with increasing incidents of anti-Semitism, India stands out as an exemplar of tolerance, providing a safe haven for Jewish communities, according to Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon.
Gilon’s remarks come at a time when many Jewish communities worldwide are experiencing heightened levels of insecurity.
“India was and is an example of tolerance in a place where, in these days, very few places in the world Jews can feel unthreatened because of anti-Semitism. India is one of these places,” he said in an interview with media.
India’s long-standing tradition of religious diversity and coexistence has fostered an environment where various communities, including the Jewish population, have been able to thrive without fear of persecution. The country is home to several synagogues, and Jewish festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm and respect.
A day ago, Members of Mumbai’s Jewish community gathered to commemorate International Holocaust Day. Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais also attended the prayer meeting organised by the Jewish Prayer House ‘Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue’ in Mumbai.
On Jews living in India, he said, “India is very unique because antisemitism was never a phenomenon. You don’t have a word in India for antisemitism. I think Jews, and it was also mentioned by the honorable minister who was here, Jews lived here equally, contributed. He spoke about the contribution of Jews to all segments of life in India.”
Every year on January 27, UNESCO pays tribute to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of intolerance that may lead to group-targeted violence, according to the UNESCO website.
Israeli envoy Gilon also said that India has been very strong against terrorism from the first moment. He said that Israel is appreciative of the Indian government’s support since Hamas launched the attack on October 7.
He added that Israel has received “incredible support” from Indian people amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Speaking about India’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, Gilon said, “India was very strong against terrorism from the first moment. Prime Minister Modi, on the afternoon of October 7, already came out with a very strong condemnation. We are much appreciative of the Indian government for its support from that time on.”
“And you heard the External Affairs Minister’s words, which are very, very clear. But this is not the only support we get from India. We get incredible support from the Indian people, wide support. We feel it all around, and it’s very important for us. As I said, we are going to win. But when you have support and friendship from countries and people, at least it makes you feel that there is still light at the end of the tunnel, there is still hope,” he added.
The war in Gaza continues after Israel launched a counter-offensive in response to the Hamas attack on October 7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first global leaders to condemn the horrific terror attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7.
Naor Gilon called October 7 the “worst day” for Jews since the Holocaust and added that Israel is fighting an important war of survivability. He stated that more than 1,200 people were murdered, raped, mutilated, and over 200 were kidnapped in a few hours of invasion on October 7.
On being asked about his personal story about the Holocaust, the Israeli envoy responded, “My personal story is the fact that I’m what we call a second generation to the Holocaust. My father was born in Germany in 1935, and he passed most of the Holocaust in Hungary, in Budapest, partly in the Ghetto.”