Israeli celebration in Mumbai: Israel Month events are being marked these days in the Indian city, in a bid to brand Israel as an innovative and thriving country, rather than a militant state as viewed on TV.
Activities include performances for Indian orphans and students by Israeli puppet cover group Red Band, medical clowns entertaining children dealing with cancer, Hapoel Tel Aviv coaches training distressed youth, an Israeli chef cooking for street kids and Israeli doctors performing complicated cardiac surgery on children.
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The unique celebration was initiated by Israel's Consul-General in Mumbai Orna Sagiv. The events were launched with visits by two medical clowns to hospitals, an orphanage and a poor neighborhood in the northern part of the city.
Hundreds of Indian students enjoyed a Red Band concert – singing along, dancing and applauding. The band also performed for children suffering from Down's syndrome and autism, receiving wide media coverage.
The surgeons who operated on the Indian patients came from the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva and included Dr. Eyal Porat, Dr. Viacheslav Bobovnikov and Dr. George Frenkel.
They operated on seven children suffering from serious heart problems. Each surgery was broadcast live to a dozens of heart surgeons from Mumbai.
And since there's no celebration without Israeli food, Chef Kobi Mizrahi prepared a special gala dinner for guests at the consul-general's residence and gave children a cooking lesson at a local orphanage.
"The purpose of Israel Month is to increase the Indian audience's exposure to Israel in Mumbai," says Consul-General Sagiv.
"So far the activities are receiving a lot of interest and media coverage, and we hope this will help strengthen the bilateral relations between India and Israel, advance the commercial-economic activity of Israeli companies in India and vice versa, and deepen the friendship between the two countries."