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Jewish Indians stand by Israel

india Updated: Aug 07, 2006 12:26 IST

Even as Hezbollah missiles are raining in this Israeli city, the Jews of Indian origin have no plans to abandon their country.

"This is our city and we are going to stay here till the end. We can't leave it and not at this crucial juncture", Herzl Penkar said as three rockets hit his neighbourhood, Kiryat Ata, on the suburbs of Haifa.

"We are trying to follow the instructions given by the Home Front and hide in the shelter houses every time the siren warns and believe that running away would be like a psychological defeat", Herzl said.

Helen, whose house shook under the impact of three rockets that fell some ten metres away from her building, said that the 3000-strong Indian community was determined to stay in the trouble-torn region.

"We cannot give in to terror and our services are required here in the city to keep it moving. We are trying to stick to the basic rules of protection and leaving everything to God," she said.

Prof Lael Anson Best, Chair of the surgery department at the Ramabam Hospital here, almost had a narrow escape in Sunday's attack and later he operated upon two youngsters who were wounded in the attack.

"I operated upon two of the youngsters who were brought to the hospital after the rocket hit them in Kfar Giladi.

As I was headed home after handing charge to my deputy I heard loud explosions on the way. Later I found out that luckily I had changed my way today because the rockets struck on my usual route", Best said.

His wife, Rebecca, and their daughter also are determined to stay in the city in solidarity and as a "matter of principle".

"The day we show weakness we would be wiped out," Rebecca said adding, "we would however like to stay in peace with our Arab neighbours".

"I was so sad to see that the Arab neighbourhoods in the city took most of the blows today. Haifa is known for its tradition of co-existence", Rebecca said.

Best and his family have another worry to deal with.

Their daughter is to get married this month but they do not know if the administration would give them the permission.

With wedding cards in his hands Best says, "I will have to give up on my friends from India who were expected to come here for the wedding. We cannot put them in danger though it will be sad".

Most of the Indians in the city, which also has an Indian synagogue, feel that Israeli operation in Lebanon is "justified".

"What will you do when somebody enters your house and forcibly snatches things from you. If you have the ability to resist and defend, you will respond" was the common refrain.

Atleast 15 Israelis were killed in Hezbollah rocket firing in Kfar Giladi and Haifa while the retaliatory attacks claimed 14 lives.

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