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Lifeline for Jewish cemetery likely

In disrepair: The 143-year-old Jewish cemetery in Vadodara.

In disrepair: The 143-year-old Jewish cemetery in Vadodara.  

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Netanyahu may promise help to develop the 143-year-old facility

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to promise help to develop a 143-year-old Jewish cemetery in Vadodara into a memorial and tourist attraction on Wednesday when he visits Gujarat along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On a six-day tour of India, the Israeli Prime Minister will be visiting Gujarat on Wednesday where he and Prime Minister Modi will hold a roadshow and visit Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram.

They will also be visiting the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Vadrad in Sabarkantha district in the State since Israel specialises in farming in dry areas.

Historical significance

But the development of the Jewish cemetery in Vadodara into a tourist attraction is of historical significance.

In 1875, the 50,000-sq.ft plot was given by Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad, the ruler of the erstwhile Baroda state, as a burial-cum-prayer ground for Jews who had come to his kingdom.

Though there are no known Jew families in Vadodara (erstwhile Baroda) or any records about them now, the cemetery lies in an abandoned state.

The Government of Israel has not only agreed to develop it but has also decided to strike a twin-city pact between Vadodara and the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

In a letter dated November 7, 2017 to the Vadodara Mayor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote, “This new agreement between Ashkelon and Vadodara will no doubt play an important role in further strengthening our ties between our countries and our people.”

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:29:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lifeline-for-jewish-cemetery-likely/article22444859.ece

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