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India, Israel and the Jewish People

  1. Many of these poems were collected for the first time, saved for posterity and published in a bilingual Malayalam-Hebrew edition by Israeli and Keralese scholars: Karkuli – Yefefiah – Gorgeous ! Jewish Womens’s Songs in Malayalam with Hebrew Translations, ed. Scaria Zacharia and Ophira Gamliel, Ben-Zvi Institute: Jerusalem, 2005.
  2. There was until recently very little research on Western Jews settling in India. The most important contribution is Kenneth X. Robbins and Marvin Tokayer, eds., Western Jews in India: From the Fifteenth Century to the Present, New Delhi, Manohar, 2013.
  3. Maina Chawla Singh, Being Indian, Being Israeli – Migration, Ethnicity and Gender in the Jewish Homeland, New Delhi, Manohar, 2009, 106. M.C. Singh is a sociologist (and wife of a former Indian Ambassador to Israel) who carried our extensive research among Indian Jews in Israel. Her interviews brought this motive to light.
  4. On Toynbee and the Jews, see Shalom Salomon Wald, Rise and Decline if Civilizations – Lessons for the Jewish People, Boston, Academic Studies Press, 2014, 77 ff.
  5. On “virtual history,” see Nial Ferguson, Virtual History, London, Penguin Books, 2011
  6. Hananya Goodman, “Introduction: Judaism and Hinduism: Cultural Resonances,” in Between Jerusalem and Benares: 11.
  7. Kumaraswamy, India’s Israel Policy, op. cit 65-67.
  8. Herb Keinon, “In Jordan, Indian leader says ‘Palestine belongs to Arabs’, ” Jerusalem Post News, October 12, 2015.
  9. Johannes H. Voight “Under the Spell of the Mahatma: Dr Margarete Spiegel”, Jewish Exile in India 1933-1945., ed. Anil Bhatti and J. H. Voigt, New Delhi, Manohar: 1999, 157.
  10. Interview of Gandhi to the Daily Herald, March 16, 1921. He reiterated this position in two later articles written in Young India, a journal he published at the time weekly to spread his ideology and thoughts, especially on issues related to the struggle for independence.
  11. Mahatma Gandhi, Notes in Young India, April 6, 1921,
  12. Shimon Lev, Soulmates – The Story of Mahatma Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach, New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, 2012. Henry S. L. Polak was also very closely associated to Gandhi’s Satyagraha struggle in South Africa.
  13. Ibid 118-119.
  14. Ibid 119-120.
  15. Yohanan Ben David, Indo-Judaic Studies: Some Papers, New Delhi, Northern Book Centre, 2002, 11-12.
  16. Simone Panter-Brick, “Gandhi’s Dream of Hindu-Muslim Unity and its two Offshoots in the Middle East,” Durham Anthropology Journal Vol. 16(2) (2009), 63-65.
  17. Gandhi, “The Jews,” Harijan, November 26, 1938. The Harijan was a newspaper published weekly by Gandhi to offer his views on India’s social and economic problems, as well as other issues.
  18. Interview of Gandhi to the Jewish Chronicle, October 2, 1931.
  19. Letter from Martin Buber to Gandhi, February 24, 1939; Letter from Judah L. Magnes to Gandhi, February 26, 1939; Martin Buber and Judah L. Magnes, Two Letters from Martin Buber and J.L. Magnes (Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 1939).
  20. Gideon Shimoni, “Gandhi, Satyagraha and the Jews: A Formative Factor in India’s Policy Towards Israel,” Jerusalem Papers on Peace Problems 22, 1977, 47.
  21. Hayim Greenberg, “An Answer to Gandhi,” Jewish Frontier, March, 1939.
  22. Shimon Lev, op. cit. 16.
  23. Hayim Greenberg, “A Letter to Gandhi,” Jewish Frontier, 1937.
  24. Thanks are expressed to Mr. Shimon Lev, Hebrew University Jerusalem, for his information about Tagore.
  25. Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore, ed. Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,1997, 482.
  26. In Tel-Aviv there is a Tagore Street and an Einstein Street. Both streets cross each other, as if to immortalize the meetings between the two when they were alive.
  27. Benny Morris “Einstein’s Other Theory,” The Guardian,, February 16, 2005. The Einstein-Nehru correspondence surfaced a few years ago in Israeli Archives. The full text of both letters has never been published side-by-side as far as we could ascertain. The historian Benny Morris quotes extensively from both letters and comments upon them.
  28. Address of Einstein in New York in 1938, “Our Debt to Zionism,” quoted in: Einstein on Politics: his Private Thoughts and Public Stands on Nationalism, Zionism, War, Peace and the Bomb, eds. David E. Rowe and Robert Schulmann, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2007, 32.
  29. Morris, op. cit.
  30. Morris, op. cit.
  31. Morris, op. cit.
  32. Morris, op. cit.
  33. Morris, op.cit.
  34. Morris, op. cit
  35. Louis Fischer, The life of Mahatma Gandhi, Crowell-Collier Publishing Company by special arrangement with Harper & Brothers 1962 p.350.
  36. Ibid, 350.
  37. Ibid, 423..
  38. Simone Panter-Brick, Jews, Arabs and Imperial Interests: Gandhi and the Middle East, London, I.B. Tauris, 2008, 47.
  39. Kumaraswamy, op. cit., 38 f.
  40. Shimon Lev, Clear are the Paths of India – The Cultural and Political Encounter between Indians and Jews in the Context of the Growth of their Respective National Movements, Ph.D. Thesis, Hebrew, to be published.
  41. Shimon Lev, Soulmates, op. cit., 128.
  42. Shimon Lev, Soulmates, op. cit., 146.
  43. Kumaraswamy, op. cit.,119.
  44. Discussion with Isi Joseph Leibler. Narasimha Rao had just become India’s new prime minister, after then Congress President Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during the 1991 general elections.
  45. V.S. Naipaul, India: A Million Mutinied Now, London, Vintage: 1991.
  46. The World Bank, Migration and Remittances Data, April 2015.
  47. Sources of Statistics: United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision. DeSilver, Drew. 5 Facts about Indian Americans, Pew, Sept. 2014. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Population of Overseas Indians, Jan. 2015. High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora, Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora, New Delhi, Indian Council of World Affairs, 2001. The World Bank, Migration and Remittance Data — Bilateral Remittance Matrix 2014, Sep. 2015. JPPI Annual Assesment, The Situation and Dynamics of the Jewish People 2010-2011, Jerusalem, 2011. JPPI Annual Assessment, The Situation and Dynamics of the Jewish People 2014-2015, Jerusalem, 2015.
  48. Pew Research Center, The Rise of Asian Americans, Washington D.C., June, 2012, 7.
  49. Pew Research Center, Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths, Washington, D. C.., July 2012.
  50. Jason Richwine, “Indian Americans: The New Model Minority,” Forbes, February 24, 2009.
  51. The Rise of Asian Americans, op. cit., 7.
  52. Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, available at
  53. Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths, op. cit.
  54. Reports and surveys of Pew Research Center.
  55. Jason Richwine, op. cit.
  56. Neesha Bapat, “How Indians Defied Gravity and Achieved Success in Silicon Valley,” Forbes, October 15, 2012.
  57. The first rate refers to the proportion of Silicon Valley’s start-ups founded by immigrants between 1995 and 2005, while the second rate refers to this proportion since 2007. See Neesha Bapat, ibid. See also: Vivek Wadhwa et al., America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Duke University and U.C. Berkeley, January 2007, 5; Vivek Wadhwa et al., America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Then and Now, Kansas City, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, October, 2012, 26-27.
  58. Pamela Constable, “Indian Americans entering politics after years of keeping low profile,” The Washington Post, September 5, 2012.
  59. Reports and surveys of Pew Research Center (see above); Steven Cohen and Samuel Abrams, “American Jews’ Political Values Survey,” May, 2012.
  60. Hindu American Foundation, “Hyperlink to Hinduphobia: Online Hatred, Extremism and Bigotry Against Hindus,” 2007, available at
  61. UK Office for National Statistics, “Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales 2011” and “Religion in England and Wales 2011”, parts of 2011 Census released, December 11, 2012.
  62. Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora, op. cit., xxv.
  63. Ibid, 330-339.
  64. Ibid, 338.
  65. Yogev Karasenty, Strengthening Jewish-Israeli Identity of Israelis Abroad, Jerusalem, JPPI, March 22, 2012.
  66. “1st Hindu Jewish Leadership Summit Declaration” (2007) and “2nd Hindu Jewish Leadership Summit Declaration” (2008),
  67. Ibid.
  68. “Rabbi David Rosen on Hindu-Jewish Relationship,” YouTube, August 27, 2009, available at
  69. Ibid.
  70. “Hinduism in the Twenty-First Century: Challenges and Opportunities,” New Delhi,:India Foundation, Paper 17, May 2012.
  71. Alon Goshen-Gottstein, “Encountering Hinduism – Thinking Through Avodah Zarah,” in: Jewish Theology and World Religions, edited by Alon Goshen-Gottstein and Eugene Korn, Oxford: Littman Library Of Jewish Civilization, 2012.
  72. Bawa Jain, “Religious want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Common Ground News Service, February 22, 2007,
  73. Kumaraswamy, India’s Israel Policy, op. cit., 63.
  74. This section is a greatly reduced and modified version of Shalom Salomon Wald: “Jews, Judaism and Israel in India’s English-Language Fiction: A Glimpse at what India’s Elites Read or Believe, ” The Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies, ed. Nathan Katz, Florida International University, Vol. 14, 2014.
  75. Yulia Egorova, Jews and India – Perceptions and Image, London/New York, Routledge, 2006.
  76. One example can be found in the Harijan article on Jews and satyagraha from 1938 mentioned earlier: “Indeed it is a stigma against them that their ancestors crucified Jesus.”
  77. Rajendra Dengle, “Ranangan or Response in Marathi Literature to the Theme of Jewish Emigration,” Jewish Exile in India 1933-1945, ed. Anil Bhatti , Johannes H.Voigt, New Delhi, Manohar-MaxMuellerBhavan, 1999, 172-185.
  78. See for example “Top 10 Indian Writers in English Today,” of 23.5.2010, a website which includes Adiga, Bhagat, Desai, Gosh, Rushdie and Seth, that is six of our nine, among the ten most important ones. There are several other, almost identical lists, with the main difference that most include also Naipaul among the ten.
  79. Anita Desai, Baumgartner’s Bombay, London, Vintage Books, 1988; Amitav Gosh, In an Antique Land, New York, Knopf, 1993; Salman Rushdie, The Moor’s Last Sigh, London: Vintage Books, 1995; Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown, London, Vintage Books, 2005; Vikram Seth, Two Lives, London, Abacus, 2005.
  80. V.S, Naipaul, Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey, London, Andre Deutsch, 1981; Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples, New York, Vintage Books, 1998.
  81. Arundhati Roy, Listening to Grasshoppers – Field Notes on Democracy, Hamish-Hamilton Penguin, London, 2009.
  82. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger, London, Atlantic Books, 2008; Chetan Bhagat, One Night in the Call Center, London, Black Swan, 2007; The 3 Mistakes of my Life, New Delhi, Rupa&Co.., 2008; Vikas Swarup, Six Suspects, London, Black Swan, 2008.
  83. David Shulman, Spring, Heat, Rains – A South Indian Diary, Chicago/London, The University of Chicago Press:, 2009.
  84. Esther David, The Walled City, Syracuse NY, Syracuse University Press, 2002; Book of Rachel, New Delhi, Viking Penguin India, 2006.
  85. A.B. Yehoshua, Open Heart, New York, Harcourt Inc., 1996..