October 11, 2023
NEW DELHI – 18000 Indian citizens caught in the midst of the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas are facing dire circumstances.
The streets and highways have become battle zones, with gunfights raging on between opposing forces. Approximately 18000 Indian citizens are among those trapped within Israel’s borders, including caregivers, IT professionals, and students.
Hamas launched a sudden and massive attack on Israel, unleashing a barrage of rockets and initiating a large-scale ground assault on a fateful Saturday. In response, Israeli forces swiftly mobilized to confront Hamas fighters in the southern regions, and the Israeli air force once again pounded targets within the Gaza Strip, intensifying the conflict.
Amidst this turmoil, the Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv has become a lifeline for Indian nationals desperately seeking to return home. The embassy has been inundated with requests from Indian tourists who found themselves stranded in the country, yearning for a safe passage back to India. Many of these tourists were traveling in groups, adding urgency to their situation. Additionally, several businessmen caught up in the unforeseen circumstances are also seeking evacuation.
Among the Indian expatriates in Israel, a significant number work as caregivers, providing essential services to those in need. Approximately a thousand students pursuing their academic dreams face the challenges posed by the ongoing conflict. Numerous IT professionals, contributing to the technology sector, are also grappling with the situation. Additionally, diamond traders involved in commerce are encountering similar challenges.
Efforts to facilitate the return of Indian nationals are not confined to Israel’s borders alone. Around 200 Indian pilgrims and tourists were stranded in Bethlehem due to the violent upheaval. They are now being evacuated with the assistance of neighboring Egypt.
Minister of State for External Affairs, Meenakshi Lekhi, expressed the Indian government’s commitment to bringing back stranded students in Israel. She assured the public that the government was actively engaged in efforts to repatriate Indian students facing adversity in Israel.
Lekhi emphasized the gravity of the situation, noting that both the Prime Minister and his office were closely monitoring developments. She underscored the enormity of the efforts underway to ensure the safe return of Indian students trapped in the region.
Indian nationals, like the general population of Israel, have experienced the harrowing ordeal of seeking refuge in bomb shelters. They sought safety as alarms signaled incoming threats, highlighting the shared ordeal faced by both communities.