Indian State of Gujarat Gives Jews Official Minority Status

By Sephardic News Jul 11, 2018 01:58 PM

Pictured Above: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, are welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Nrenda Modi in Gujarat. India, on Jan. 17, 2018. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

(JNS) The Indian State of Gujarat granted the Jewish community minority status on Friday, officially recognizing Jews as beneficiaries of legal rights specific to minorities.

Only 170 Jews live in Gujarat, centered in the city of Ahmedabad, which is home to the Magen Abraham Synagogue. Built in 1934, it’s the only Jewish house of worship in the state. Tens of thousands of Jews lived in India prior to the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, but began making aliyah. There are approximately 70,000 Indian Jews in Israel.

Today, the state of Maharashtra is home to the largest Jewish population in India—approximately 2,000 people.

India has six additional minority communities: Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, and Parsis.

“After careful consideration, [the] Gujarat state government hereby resolves to accord religious minority community status to the Jew community living in Gujarat,” the government said in an official statement. “They shall get benefits of welfare schemes formulated for religious minority communities within the jurisdiction of Gujarat.”