Some 2000 distinguished guests, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, were treated with Indian food at a party thrown by the US Ambassador in Israel, Richard Jones, to celebrate America’s Independence Day this weekend.
Israel’s curry queen, Reena Pushkarna’s Tandoori restaurant was specially called upon to cater to the honoured guests that included some foreign dignitaries.
”It’s a great honour. It’s the first time that guests at American Independence Day celebrations here were treated to Indian food. It shows the growing acceptance of Indian cuisine across the globe and that it can also serve as a means of diplomacy”, Reena said.
Tandoori in Tel Aviv has indeed served in promoting diplomatic process in the region as the first location of choice for peace talks between the Israelis, Palestinians and Norwegians.
When BBC telecasted the first handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat on the lawns of White House it suddenly showed Tandoori saying that the peace talks did not commence in Jerusalem or in Oslo, but in the Indian restaurant based in Tel Aviv.
A household name in Israel, Reena has been dubbed by the local media as ‘the most successful Indian in Israel’, ‘our beautiful lady of Indian food’ and ‘India’s unofficial cultural envoy to Israel’.
Widely credited with introducing Indian culture in Israel, Reena and her husband, Vinod Pushkarna, have been awarded by the Israel-India Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the ”goodwill engendered” by their efforts.
Reena, however, reminisces that the going was not so easy when she started the business some two decades ago.
”Unlike in America and England where it is easier to launch such a business due to the substantial presence of the Indian community, in Israel I had to start from the scratch.
There were some persons who would make strange faces at the mention of Indian food then,” she said.
But now, Reena’s business empire breaches Israeli territories extending out to other markets in the West. She today owns six Indian restaurants spread across the major cities in Israel.
Courtesy :- NDTV