Remembering JFR Jacob, India’s Jewish General
The first time I saw Lt. General JFR Jacob, at Delhi’s Judah Hyam synagogue, I had no idea who he was. But his importance was obvious by the way everyone stood tall and switched to tones of reverence at his appearance.
“He is a hero, our topmost Jew!” someone whispered to me. A woman in a sari asked, “Isn’t he splendid?” The Israeli ambassador, who was at his side, told me, “General Jacob is legend, truly larger than life.”
As an Israeli journalist based in India, my curiosity was piqued. And after some quick research I realized that I had, indeed, just met India’s “top-most Jew” and indeed a living legend.
Jacob, who passed away on January 13, 2016 at age 92, was known far and wide for his role in bringing the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 to an early end; this, in turn, resulted in the emergence of the independent nation of Bangladesh from what had been East Pakistan. The story is remarkable, and it is still studied in military academies around the world.