Hindu-Jewish ties date back over 2,500 years. It is believed that Jews arrived in India after the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. Jewish waves of migration to India took place after the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.
For thousands of years, Hindus respected the Jews in their midst and did not coerce their Jewish neighbors into relinquishing their faith. The Hindu kings protected the Jewish community. Thus when the Portuguese invaded India, to prevent the Jewish synagogue from being harmed in the spate of antisemitic pogroms, the Hindu king moved the synagogue next to his palace, so that he could keep ensure its safety. Antisemitism is an alien concept in India.
The Jewish viewpoint somewhat disappeared from the mindspace of the Hindu majority in India. Thus a majority of Indians and even most in the council of ministers have no knowledge regarding the significance of the Temple Mount or the Western Wall.
We need to understand that the Temple Mount is to the Jews is what the Ram Janmobhoomi Temple at Ayodhya is to the Hindus. Both sites are central to the history and belief of a religion. A religion much younger than either Judaism or Hinduism has laid claim to these sites, and the world has acquiesced.
Thus defending the Jewish claim to the Temple in Jerusalem is not only the right thing for India to do for its friend, Israel, it is the right thing to do for Indian interests. If Jews can maintain claim to the Temple Mount, Hindus can rebuild the Ram Temple in Ayodhya as well. Thus Hindus can be inspired by the Jews – but that inspiration can only come when the Jewish rights to the Temple Mount stand strong.
India, as well as some other democracies, may want to reconsider its vote. Japan, which also abstained, understood the significance of the decision and has declared discontinuance of all funds for UNESCO. Mexico and Brazil have also denounced their votes.
India should speak out clearly and publicly against the travesty of the UNESCO vote. For the Temple Mount and the Western Wall are not just edifices, but are at the heart of the Jewish identity, just as the Ram Janmoobhumi Temple is for the Hindus.
It is thus extremely important that the Hindu, Jewish and Conservative Christian community in the US join hands in running a campaign to rescue the historical Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Hagia Sofia in Turkey and Ayodhya and dozens of Hindu temples in Asia, from their usurpers.