Liora Itzhak, the Israeli singer will be welcoming PM Modi by singing the Indian national anthem. Photograph: (Facebook)
By Aimen Zaki
Indian Jews living in different parts of Israel primarily belong to three different communities namely Cochin Jews, Paradesi Jews of Kerala and Bene Israel Jews who belong to Maharashtra. There are about 85,000 Jews of Indian-origin in Israel.
After India's independence, several Indian Jews immigrated to Israel where they could secure their identities which was somewhat lost while they were living in India.
Cochin Jews, also known as Malabar Jews were among the first to leave for Israel which proclaimed itself as a nation in 1948, just months after India's independence.
Initially, the Jews who migrated from India joined 'Moshav' which is a kind of an Israeli agricultural cooperative society built by the Labour Zionists during the second aliyah (immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the land of Israel).
However, in today's Israel Indians do not restrict themselves within the agricultural sector alone but are working in several other important sectors, like medicine, IT and they also work in the diamond trade. There are also many Indians who hold military positions and are running their own companies in Israel.
There are few Indian-origin Israelis that should be celebrated, here are three national figures in Israel who are little known in India:
Liora Itzhak, the Israeli singer will be welcoming PM Modi by singing the Indian national anthem. (Facebook)
Liora Itzhak is an Indian-origin Israeli who was born in Israel and came to India at the age of 15 in the hope of working as a singer in Bollywood. Liora has diverse interests, she learned Indian classical music and also tried her hand at learning ghazals and bhajans.
Liora bagged her first break when she was invited to sing bandh darwaze khuli khidkiyan in the movie "Dil ka Doctor", after that she continued with her career as a singer in Bollywood for some time.
She has worked with several famous Indian singers like Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan and Kumar Sanu. But after living in India for eight long years, she felt homesick and wanted to go back to her family in Israel.
Liora has continued with her singing in Israel's music industry ever since. She is set to sing the Indian national anthem during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel.
Sheikh Mohammad Munir Ansari, director Indian Hospice in Jerusalem. (Others)
Sheikh Mohammad Munir Ansari
The eldest son of late Khwaja Nazer Hassan Ansari, 90-year-old Sheikh Mohammad Munir Ansari is the director of the 800-year-old Hospice in Jerusalem.
Sheikh Mohammad Munir's father Khwaja Nazer Hassan Ansari was appointed to supervise and administer the Hospice which was established during the visit of Sufi Saint Baba Fareed in the holy land.
Khwaja Ansari was sent to Jerusalem from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh to facilitate and look into the matter of the Hospice.
The Hospice provides shelter to pilgrims who visit the holy sites in Israel. The Ansari family has been carrying forward their legacy of serving Indians since 1924.
Sheikh Munir Ansari received the Pravasi Bhartiya Saman Award in 2011.
Bezalel Eliahu, the game-changer in Israel's agricultural sector. (Others)
Bezalel Eliahu is an Israeli floriculturist and agriculturist from the Malabari Jewish Community of Kerala-Cochin. Bezalel was born in 1930 in Chendamangalam, a panchayat in Paravur Taluk in Ernakulam district in Kerala and later migrated to Israel in 1955 with his father and sister.
He made a huge contribution for his continuous guidance in adopting the new floriculture and horticulture techniques in Israel.
Indian-origin Bezalal learned the technique of 'fertigation' and applied his skills to show a new way of utilising land for agriculture when water resources were scarce in Israel.
Bezalel contribution was recognised by the US and other countries who followed his techniques.
His journey from being a shepherd to an award-winning agriculturist was highly appreciated by India and he received the Pravasi Bhartiya Saman Award by India's former President late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006.
He is the first Indian-origin Israeli to receive the award.