India and Israel release stamps to mark 20 years of ties
TEL AVIV: India and Israel have released a set of postal stamps depicting their respective festival of lights, Diwali and Hannukah, to commemorate 20 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The stamps were unveiled by secretary and director general of India Post, Manjula Prasher, India’s new envoy to Israel, Jaideep Sarkar, and chairman of Israel Postal Company, Sasi Shilo in presence of other officials from both sides.
Sarkar called upon to promote close people to people contact among the two countries to foster experience of mutual goodwill and friendship among them.
“In India we have a great respect for the Jewish faith, as we have for all other faiths. Today the release of the joint postal stamp not only celebrates a milestone in our diplomatic relations but also a common structural tradition, the festival of lights….both festivals celebrating the victory of good over evil”, Sarkar said addressing India enthusiasts gathered to attend the ceremony.
The Indian stamp shows a row of traditional earthen lamps, diyas, representing Diwali and the Israeli stamp features a menorah with the word “Zion” inscribed inside a Magen David star.
Hanukkah, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC. The Babylon Talmud describes how the Maccabees found only a little pure oil, enough to light the Temple menorah for a single day.
A miracle occurred and this oil lasted for eight days, by which time more oil was prepared, it goes on to say.
“Over a period of time, stamps, a piece of paper, have gained a lot of significance. It not only denotes a country’s sovereignty but also becomes a means to commemorate important events like this one”, Prasher said, stressing on the significance of joint stamp release.
Hanukkah, like Deepavali, celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the victory of justice over injustice.
Emphasising on the deepening Indo-Israel ties, Shilo called upon the postal services of both the countries to also cooperate in order to meet the new challenges posed by technological advancements.
“Issuing joint stamps symbolises the culture, cooperation and friendship shared between people and nation”, he said, touching upon the special bonding between Indians and Israelis.
These limited edition stamps have been designed by Indian artist, Alka Sharma, and Israeli artist, Ronen Goldberg.
They will be available in Israel from today and released in India in about two weeks.
The menorah featured on the stamp was inspired by the wooden menorah used by the Jewish community in Bombay.