Tel Aviv/Jerusalem: Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night gifted two sets of relics from Kerala, including sets of copper plates and a scroll, to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.
“The first set of copper plates is a cherished relic for the Cochin Jews in India,” PMO India said in a Twitter message.
Another set of copper plates is believed to be the “earliest documentation of the history of Jewish trade with India”.
It is regarded as a charter describing the grant of hereditary royal privileges and prerogatives by the Hindu King, Cheraman Perumal also identified as Bhaskara Ravi Varma to the Jewish leader Joseph Rabban.
According to traditional Jewish accounts, Joseph Rabban was later crowned as the Prince of Shingli, a place in or equated with Cranganore.
In Cranganore, PMO missive in the micro blogging site said, is where Jews “enjoyed religious and cultural autonomy for centuries, before they moved to Cochin and other places in Malabar”.
Local Jews once placed in each coffin a handful of earth from Shingli or Cranganore that was remembered as a holy place and a “second Jerusalem”.
The replica of these plates was made possible with the cooperation of the Paradesi Synagogue in Mattancherry, Kochi.
The second set of copper plates is believed to be the earliest documentation of the history of Jewish trade with India.
These plates describe the grant of land and tax privileges by the local Hindu ruler to a church. And oversight of trade in Kollam to West Asian and Indian trading associations – West Asian association included Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, as also a group of Jews.
The replica of these plates was made possible with the cooperation of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Thiruvalla, Kerala.
“In addition, Prime Minister @narendramodi also presented PM @netanyahu a Torah scroll donated by the Paradesi Jewish community in Kerala,” another Twitter message said.
Handwritten over a hundred years ago, the scroll had been dedicated to the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi that had been built in 1568, the PMO India said.
On three-day visit to Israel as first Indian Prime Minister, Modi has a number of programmes lined up for today.
He will meet up Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin while the leader of opposition of Israel, Issac Herzog will also call upon the Prime Minister.
India and Israel are likely to finalise a number of MoUs and agreements including a strategic pact on Agriculture and Water. The Prime Minister will also address the Indian community in Tel Aviv.