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Sharon delighted with gift from Kochi

New Delhi Sept. 10. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was very much delighted with a unique gift he received at the banquet hosted by the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, here last night.

The gift contained replicas of the Copper plates from the `Magna Carta' of the Jews of Kochi, which has the oldest synagogue outside Israel. The gift was presented by the Kerala Tourism Minister, K.V. Thomas.

According to some scholars, the Copper plates given by the then rulers of Kochi during the arrival of the Jews to that place, dated back to the 11th century. But the traditional date according to the Cochin Jews is 379 AD.

It contains the royal order of giving special favours to the Jews led by Joseph Rabban. ``We have granted to Joseph Rabban the village of Anjuvannam together with the 72 proprietary rights, tolls on boats and carts, the revenue and title of Anjuvannam, the lamp of the day, a cloth spread in front to walk on, a palanquin, a parasol, a Vaduga (i.e. Teluge) drum, a trumpet, a gate way, a garland, decoration with festoons, and so forth.

``We have granted him the land tax and weight tax; moreover, we have sanctioned with these Copper plates that he need not pay the dues which the inhabitants of the other cities pay the Royal palace, and that he may enjoy the benefits which they enjoy. To Joseph Rabban the Prince of Anjuvannam and to his descendants sons and daughters and to his nephews, and to the sons-in-law who married his daughters in natural succession. So long as the world and moon exist, Anjuvannam shall be his hereditary possession. Hail''.

This has been granted with the knowledge of Govarthan Marthandan--Chief of Venadu, Kodal Chirkandan--Chief of Venapalinadu, Manavepala Manavian--Chief of Eralanadu, Trairan Chathan-Chief of Vallunadu, Kodal Travi--Chief of Nedumpurayurnadu, Moorkan Chathan--Sub-commander of the forces, and Vandalacheri Kandan--the Prime Minister. This is also inscribed on the plates. At present, Kochi has a small Jewish community of less than 100. A large number of Cochin Jews had migrated to Israel.--UNI

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