'Mumbai attack reminds Israelis of shared destiny with Diaspora Jews'

Foreign Ministry official says another result of the massacre was that many Israelis become familiar with what Chabad does.

chabad 224.88 (photo credit: Chabad)
chabad 224.88
(photo credit: Chabad)
The Mumbai attack two weeks ago was another tragic incident that made many Israelis realize they share a common destiny with Diaspora Jews, Aviva Raz-Shechter, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department for Combating Anti-Semitism, said on Sunday. "Obviously we cannot generalize, but I feel that for many of us who watched the developments in Mumbai there was a definitely feeling of shared destiny." "Similar to the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing, which was much bigger, the Mumbai attack reminded a lot of Israelis that they share much in common with the Jews of the Diaspora," she said. Raz-Shechter was referring to the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in July 1994 that killed 85 and wounded hundreds. She said that other, more positive, events that strengthened Israelis' Jewish identity and reaffirmed their ties with their Diaspora brethren included Operations Moses and Solomon, which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1984 and 1991, respectively, and the large waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union. "As a majority population living in their own state, Israelis have a tendency to emphasize national identity above religious or ethnic identity. "While Jews in America are more likely to identify as American Jews, Israelis will often limit their self-definition to Israeli and not Jewish. Most of the time, Israelis feel no need to identify as Jews. And this is another component that differentiates between Israelis and Diaspora Jews." she said. Raz-Shechter said that another result of the Mumbai massacre was that many Israelis become familiar with what Chabad does. "Mumbai opened a window for Israelis unfamiliar with Chabad's good work. It helped them get closer to a group of Jews who do not necessarily define themselves as Zionists but who are willing to open their homes to everybody."