Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, on Tuesday paid tributes to Indian soldiers who died during the World War I in the northern Israeli coastal city of Haifa while fighting to liberate it from the Ottoman empire.
The city celebrated the centenary year of its liberation in September 2018 from Ottoman rule, honouring the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in what most war historians consider “the last great cavalry campaign in history”.
The Indian Army commemorates September 23 every year as Haifa Day to pay its respects to the three Indian Cavalry Regiments — Mysore, Hyderabad and Jodhpur Lancers — that helped liberate Haifa following a dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.
“Being a representative of Jodhpur and the family of the heroes fought I am really proud…,” Shekhawat, whose great grandfather is said to have also participated in the battle, wrote in the guest book.
Captain Aman Singh Bahadur and Dafadar Jor Singh were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) and Captain Anop Singh and 2nd Lt Sagat Singh were awarded the Military Cross (MC) as recognition for their bravery in the battle.
Major Dalpat Singh was awarded a military cross for his bravery.
About 900 Indian soldiers are interred in cemeteries across Israel in Jerusalem, Ramle and Haifa.
History textbooks from class 3 to 5 in Haifa teach about the story of liberation of the city by Indian soldiers and Dalpat Singh is a household name here.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Haifa cemetery during his visit to Israel in July 2017 and unveiled a plaque commemorating Major Dalpat Singh, known as the ‘Hero of Haifa’ for his critical role in the liberation of the city.
The Israel Post also issued a commemorative stamp last year to celebrate the centenary year of the city’s liberation