Indian Jewry in Israel and Its Role in India’s Foreign Policy

Today, Israel is home to over 80,000 Jews of Indian origin. Unlike most immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, those who made aliyah from the subcontinent didn’t come fleeing persecution and anti-Semitism, but simply to live in the land of their ancestors. Oshrit Birvadker examines their place in contemporary Israel:

Indian Jews in Israel have assimilated into Israeli society, while keeping their own distinct identity. The young generations especially are eager to adopt an Israeli way of life rather than remain distinctive from the rest of their society, as many of their ancestors did. In recent years, the community has placed a special emphasis on preserving Indian Jewish culture and their contribution to the mosaic of Israeli society. This is evident from the growing number of conferences and media coverage about their culture as well as [the construction of] the Cochin Jewish Heritage Museum at Moshav Nevatim.

The burgeoning bilateral relationship between Israel and India today has boosted the confidence of the community, [and especially] the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in 2017. Modi’s decision to host a rally of Indian Jews in the midst of an intense three-day visit helped inform Israeli society and decision makers of the importance of the community in the eyes of the Indian government.

Since the early 2000s, the government of India has undergone an institutional and conceptual change in which the Indian diaspora has become an important tool in Indian foreign policy. At first, it was the affluent Indians in the West who were courted by the Indian government, but under the rule of the BJP, working-class diaspora communities—such as the Indians in the Gulf countries and in Israel—have become a significant part of the government’s foreign-relations strategy.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: India, Indian Jewry, Israel-India relations, Israeli society

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy