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India, Israel and the Jewish People

14. Research and teaching about Judaism and Israel is weaker in Indian academia than in any other large country not hostile to Israel. There are two or three university faculty members in all of India dealing at least partly with Judaism or Israel; in China there are more than five times as many. There is no mention at all of such subjects at lower levels of education.

  • Look for ways and means to increase and fund the teaching of Jewish and Israeli studies in Indian universities, and bring more Indian scholars and students to Israel.
  • Promote the establishment of Jewish or Israeli study centers and/or curricula in India.
  • Increase the number of scholarships and financial aid for Indian MA and doctoral students studying Jewish subjects in Israel, and grant visas allowing part-time work similar to the F1 US visa.
  • Invite promising Indian graduate and post-graduate students to Israel, and set up meetings with their Israeli counterparts.

15. A few Israeli universities teach Indian languages, history or culture, more of ancient than of contemporary India. This is insufficient in view of India’s growing importance for the world and for Israel.

  • Strengthen Israeli education and research about India, and increase links with Indian institutions of higher education.
  • Offer more courses on modern Indian history, politics, and economics in Israeli universities.
  • Develop Indian study partnerships between Indian and Israeli universities, including faculty and student exchange programs.
  • Israeli MBA programs should include a track pairing Israeli and Indian MBA students and faculty, and include in this track consultations with an Indian or Israeli company.

16. Jewish-Hindu Dialogue: India is a secular republic, but its people are deeply religious. Educated Hindus are showing interest in Judaism, a religion that — in contrast to others — never sought to invade or convert India. As a result of this interest, three Hindu-Jewish summit meetings (Delhi 2007, Jerusalem 2008, Washington 2009) were held. They were attended by Hindu religious and spiritual leaders and members of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, among others. The meetings had a wide, positive echo in India, but almost none in the Jewish world.

Continue a regular dialogue between Hindu and Jewish religious scholars (not leaders), in line with similar meetings that are taking place in various countries between Christians and Jews, and Muslims and Jews. Jewish and Israeli NGOs, not governments, should take the lead.

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