The Jewish community in India, just about 3,000 in number, says it is not as worried about a reported threat of attacks at Mumbai synagogues as it is concerned about the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.

On Monday, news reports claimed that the Mumbai police chief, Rakesh Maria, had received a letter from a group called ‘suicide mujahideen’, which threatened to carry out bomb blasts at Jewish places of worship on July 25, the last Friday of Ramzan. In response, the Mumbai police stepped up security across the city.

The city’s Jews, however, have grown accustomed to high security outside the 12 synagogues in Mumbai and Thane. These security arrangements have been in place ever since the November 26, 2008 terror attacks in the city, when the Chabad House, a Jewish community centre at Nariman Point, was one of the sites under siege for three days.

“Our synagogues have constant police security, so we continue going for our prayers on Fridays and Saturdays just as we have always done,” said Yael Waskar, a homemaker based in Thane.

Leaders of the community emphasise that Indian Jews have a long history of living harmoniously in India, and thus they do not fear animosity from within the country.

“We don’t feel threatened by our Muslim brethren at all,” said Solomon Sopher, the chairman of the EEE Sassoon High School, one of two Jewish-run schools in Mumbai. Close to 98% of the students in both the schools, says Sopher, are from the Muslim community. “Like always, we will be opening our school and synagogue grounds for Eid prayers this week.”

Meanwhile, the community is more worried about the continuing conflict between Israel and the Hamas forces in Gaza. Since the 1960s – when there were more than 30,000 Jews in India – members of the community have been migrating in hundreds and thousands to Israel. Every Jewish family in India has close family members or relatives who currently live in Israel, and some of them also serve in the Israeli army.

“Because the casualties in Gaza have been disproportionately higher, Israel has been painted as an aggressor in this war,” said Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Mumbai-based Indian Jewish Federation. Solomon says that Israel has been trying to defend itself from Hamas rockets, while Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, is using Palestinians as human shields.

“We feel for the innocents being killed, but it is unfortunate that this is being used to threaten Jews in India,” said Solomon.

Waskar, whose brother currently lives in Israel and whose cousin is in the Israeli army, describes the conflict in the Jewish nation as a “Kashmir-like” issue that has been going on for several years but is not getting solved. “It is a political issue for Israel and Palestine, and as an Indian, I would prefer not to get involved,” she said.

While he did not wish to comment on the conflict in Gaza, Sopher emphasised the need for the violence to end as soon as possible. “We want peace at any cost.”