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Divided into Two: ‘Gora’ and ‘Kala’, Bene Israel is a Jewish community from India

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An Bene Israel Family Image source: indianquarterly.com
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  • Bene Israels are also known as Indian Jews
  • There are total 80,000 Indian Jews in Israel
  • Most Bene Jews are of view that they left India because their community growth was continuously declining in India

Bene Israel meaning ‘Sons of Israel’ are said to have migrated from India over the last few decades. It will surprise many that they are also known as Indian Jews community. This  is one of the 4 sub-communities of Jews and now in Israel, there are about 80,000 Indian Jews.

Jewish lady. Image Souce: Wikimedia Commons
Jewish lady. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The population includes- Cochin jews, Baghdadi Jews (Jews belong from Kolkata) and those belonging to ‘Manashe’ tribe from Manipur. However, the Bene Israel continues to believe that their ancestors belong to the Konkan area in India.

After India achieved freedom in 1947 and a year later, Israel was formed in 1948. All Jews migrated to Israel as they felt their conditions were precarious in India. Bene Israel believes that around 1000 AD Jewish merchant David Rahabi came into India led the foundation of Bene Israel, said thehindu.com report.

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Bene Israel divides themselves into two groups- ‘Gora’ means white and ‘Kala’ means black. It says that whose both mother and father are Jews falls in Gora community while the Kala constitutes people whose fathers are Jewish and mother from any other community. There is a discrimination in these two communities. Gora defines them as superiors and does not mingle with Kala and member from Gora community cannot marry anyone from Kala community.

The Bene Jews had a unique custom known as ‘Malida’. In Malida, Bene Israel sits with a plate full of rice, spices, fruits and flowers. During this, they praise Lord by singing songs and narrate two stories about Prophet Elijah.

Malida custom of Bene Jews. Image Souce: forward.com
Malida custom of Bene Jews. Image Source: forward.com

According to a report in The Hindu, Bene Israel does not consider themselves as Jews until the 20th century. They were known as ‘Yehudi’ or ‘Bene Israel’ until the 20th century, but now they refer themselves as Jews. Today, many people in India also refer Jews as Bene Israel or Israel.

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Most Bene Jews share the view that they left India because their community growth was continuously declining in India. Unlike, UK and USA, they do not enjoy the same position as other Jews in Israel. While most of the Jews migrated to Israel, a small population migrated to English-speaking countries like Australia, UK and USA.

Now there are only 5,000 Bene Israels are left in India, out of which, more than 90% lives in Thana, a suburb of Mumbai.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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Twitter Takes Multiple Steps To Curb Misinformation Before Elections in India

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation

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Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Twitter is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of 2019 general election in India, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said here on Monday.

Addressing a Town Hall-style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category.

“The real problem is not misinformation per se as jokes can also be categorised as misinfomation. But misinformation that is spread with the intent to mislead people is a real problem,” stressed the Twitter CEO who is in India on a week-long maiden visit.

Dorsey, who got a rousing reception at IIT-D with the students wildly cheering the young entrepreneur, likened solving the problem of misleading information to that of addressing a security issue, or building a lock.

Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“No one can build a perfect lock, but we need to stay ahead of our attackers. AI could probably help,” Dorsey told the audience.

Earlier in the day, the Twitter CEO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the social network was taking to curb the spread of fake news and boost healthy conversation on its platform.

Dorsey also met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over the weekend. He was also expected to meet Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the wake of the growing criticism over Twitter’s role in the spread of misinformation and fake news as India faces Assembly polls in five states in November-December ahead of next year’s general elections.

Twitter, India
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter, along with other social media platforms, including Facebook, came under intense scrutiny of policymakers in the US for their failure to stop the spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts on their platforms during the 2016 Presidential election.

The micro-blogging site since then has stepped up its efforts to curb the spread of divisive messages and fake news on its platform.

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter recently announced that it would now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviour.

India, elections
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

As part of the new rules, accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts that were previously suspended for violating rules may be identified as fake accounts, Twitter said recently.

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom to Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

However, according to a Knight Foundation study released in October, more than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 US election are still active. (IANS)