Around 50 members of the Jewish community of Ahmedabad, who had gathered outside the Sabarmati Ashram to welcome Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday morning, were left disappointed. The two leaders neither waved at them nor their car slowed down near the spot allocated to the community. In fact, most of them did not know when the cars of the two PMs drove past them.
“This is very disappointing. We have been here since morning. Many of us have taken a leave from office. We had bouquets and were hoping we could at least see both the leaders briefly. But they just drove past; we did not even know when they passed by,” said Margalita Abraham who works in a school.
Members of the community were waiting since 8.00 am but when the leaders arrived around 11.00 am, most of them missed spotting their car.
The youngsters of the community, too, were upset. They had prepared a welcome song for both the leaders but did not get a chance to sing it. “When Narendra Modi goes to other countries, he breaks protocol to stop or wave to the Indian community. We were hoping that Netanyahu would at least stop for a minute or two. People made personalised posters, some of the old women of the community came despite health troubles. What was the point of even calling us,” said Allon Reubens, principal of Reubens School.
Some of the community members said they got themselves “fresh” Kippahs, the customary Jewish cap, exclusively for the event.
“Flop show”, “We could have seen it on TV”, “This is an insult to us” and “I woke up early for this” were the refrains that were heard as the Jews headed home on the bus they had hired to come to the Sabarmati Ashram.
“We were told Netanyahu would come in an open jeep. We are a tiny community and it would have meant a lot had they halted for just two minutes. This was a flop show. They could have at least waved at us. What did they then call us to stand here for?” asked Joseph Pingle, a canteen owner.