India, Israel and the Jewish People – Looking Forward, Looking Back: 25 Years after Normalization is primarily a book of geopolitics and strategy that offers policy makers a number of recommendations. However, the current political issues can only be understood against the background of India’s and the Jewish People’s major upheavals in the 20th century. This is why the book examines recent history with particular attention, but it does more. It shows that there was a relationship between India and the Jewish people that is as old as history itself. By putting current issues for the first time, into this broader, long-term historic and cultural framework, the book hopes to remind its readers that improving current relations means also continuing and renewing old history.
India, Israel and the Jewish People draws its sources from literature (see Bibliography), but more so from approximately 120 interviews conducted in India, Israel and the United States (see Interviewee List). Some of these were short and fleeting, others extensive and repeated. Most were personal but a few were by written communication. Thus, the book owes a lot to a lot of people. A few of them deserve particular thanks here. First, we would like to thank President Reuven Rivlin for contributing the Foreword. This book could not have been started or completed without the support of JPPI President Avinoam Bar-Yosef, Projects Coordinator Ita Alcalay and the tireless editor, Barry Geltman. Many JPPI colleagues have helped with knowledge and advice, even if not all can be mentioned. Avi Gil’s critical assistance for the formulation of the policy recommendations, Rami Tal’s and Dan Feferman’s balanced judgment and Antony Korenstein’s extensive personal knowledge of India helped to enrich the text and eliminate more than one error. Last but not least, Noah Slepkov reviewed and updated the book’s numerous statistical data.
Outside the JPPI, a lot of good advice was received in the countries mentioned above. At the risk of not being just to all interviewees, there are a few who must be thanked specifically: First of all fm, Ambassador Marc Sofer who read the text with particular care, then Alexander Cherniak, Ophira Gamliel, Antoine Halff, P.R. Kumaraswamy, Shimon Lev, Ken Robbins, Yitzchak Shichor, Sara Sofer and fm. Ambassador Yegar. India’s Embassy in Israel, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly Mr. Shimon Mercer, and Israel’s diplomats in India replied to questions whenever asked but never tried to influence the authors in one direction or another. Thanks are also due to Einat Wilf, fm. Member of the Knesseth (Israel’s Parliament) who organised in 2012 for the first time, a large Knesseth Sub-Committee Session on India, Israel and the Jewish People.
It goes without saying that the evaluations and conclusions of the book, but also whatever errors might have remained, are the responsibility of the authors alone.
Shalom Salomon Wald and Arielle Kandel, June 2017