Modi in Israel: PM begins ‘groundbreaking’ visit, Netanyahu says ‘historic’

Modi in Israel: Netanyahu recalled how Modi told him, at their first meeting in New York in September 2014, that the “sky is the limit”. But, he said, with space cooperation now, even the sky was not the limit.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Jerusalem | Updated: July 5, 2017 12:11 pm
 modi in israel, pm modi in israel, israel-india, benjamin netanyahu, tel aviv airport, modi-netanyahu, india-israel relations, india news, indian express Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu greets Narendra Modi, who became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish nation (Source: Narendra Modi/ Twitter handle)

It’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 66th visit abroad in three years. But it’s a historic first by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel. Less than 11 years after Narendra Modi visited Israel as Gujarat Chief Minister in October 2006, Modi arrived at the Ben Gurion International Airport here, to a grand official ceremony and warm embrace by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who described him as “my friend” at least three times during the 30-minute welcome at the airport.

Wearing a white bandhgala, in 35 degress Celsius, Modi greeted Netanyahu with a “Shalom” as he landed at the tarmac shortly after 4 pm (local time). Netanyahu shook his hand, and told him, “What a great day, what a historic day. Welcome my friend.” The two leaders then embraced each other.

Minutes later, after the ceremonial guard of honour, Netanyahu said, “Aapka swagat hai, mere dost”, as Modi smiled.

“Prime Minister Modi, we have been waiting for you for a long time, for almost 70 years, in fact. Because yours is truly a historic visit,” he said, “We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your history, your culture, democracy, your commitment to progress. We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest to provide a better future for our people and for our world.”

Netanyahu recalled how Modi told him, at their first meeting in New York in September 2014, that the “sky is the limit”. But, he said, with space cooperation now, even the sky was not the limit.

“When I met you in New York three years ago, we agreed to break down the remaining walls between India and Israel. We shook each other’s hands and agreed to forge a historic partnership for partners,” said Netanyahu, as he called Modi his “friend”.

Responding to the welcome, Modi said: “It is my singular honour to be the first ever Indian Prime Minister to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel… My visit celebrates the strength of centuries-old links between our societies. Based on the bonds, our partnership has maintained a strong and sustained upswing since the establishment of full diplomatic relations 25 years ago.

“The people of Israel have built a nation on democratic principles. They have nurtured it with hard work, grit and spirit of innovation. You have marched on, regardless of adversity, and converted challenges into opportunity. India applauds your achievements,” he said.

Modi then recalled that 41 years ago, on July 4, in Operation Entebbe, “Bibi” lost his elder brother “Yoni”, who died while saving the lives of Israeli hostages. Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu was a Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer who commanded the elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, during Operation Entebbe — an operation to rescue hostages held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in 1976. The mission was successful, with 102 of the 106 hostages rescued, but “Yoni” was killed in action — the only IDF fatality during the operation.

After their brief speeches, Netanyahu introduced top Cabinet ministers who were at the airport to receive Modi.

From the airport, Modi headed to Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm, at Mishmar Hashiva, accompanied by Netanyahu and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. He is also slated to visit Yad Vashem, the Hall of Names, attend the memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, tour the Children’s Memorial and sign the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

The two leaders will then head to the Israeli Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem, which will be their opportunity to discuss the bilateral aspects of the relationship.

While India and Israel have deep ties in defence and security, the two sides are keen to project a broader relationship during Modi’s three-day visit — and they are going to showcase their “strategic partnership” in agriculture and water, innovation and science and technology, and space.

Rebecca Zeffert, Founder and Executive Director of Israel-Asia Centre in Jerusalem, told The Indian Express, “Israel has been eagerly awaiting the visit by Prime Minister Modi for the past two years. So his visit to Israel in the year marking 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries is a historic one, and will serve to further ramp up and upgrade the already strong ties that exist between the two countries.”

She said that an example of this is the elaborate roadmap of commitments prepared by the two countries to strengthen ties on multiple fronts — including economic ties, tourism, R&D, innovation, education and culture. Last week, the Israeli cabinet approved a 280 million shekel plan — higher than any previous sums allocated in equivalent programmes (including China) — to support bilateral initiatives as part of this roadmap. Numerous ministries played a role in penning this programme, which includes increasing Israeli exports to India, furthering cooperation in water and agriculture, academic exchange programmes, boosting tourism and investment between the two countries.

“One of the agreements we are expecting the two countries to sign during the visit includes a joint innovation fund of $40 million. Israel also plans to encourage more Indian tourists to visit Israel through a plan to film a Bollywood movie in Israel,” she said.

“A great deal of emphasis will be placed during this visit on collaboration in agricultural and water technology, and specifically on application of Israeli water technologies to meet some of India’s most pressing water challenges — such as initiatives to clean up the Ganga river,” she said.

Former advisor to Netanyahu Caroline Glick, who is a senior journalist with Jerusalem Post, told The Indian Express, “We are very excited that Prime Minister Modi is coming this week. His election was a turning point in India-Israel relations… We understand that Modi is a true friend of Israel and understands that our economies are compatible. Israel and India are uniquely situated to work together to advance common aims in everything from clear water technologies to drone technologies, from agriculture to aerospace, there is effectively no area of human endeavor where our economic interests and comparative advantages are not complementary.”

Zeffert said that India and Israel share many commonalities. “Both people have long histories spanning thousands of years, and deeply entrenched traditions, but emerged as modern states just a year apart from each other. They are both democracies in rough neighbourhoods, and have had to deal with seemingly insurmountable challenges. However, despite these commonalities, there is still much work to be done to address some of the challenges that often exist in doing business together and building tangible partnerships. While this visit will focus on heightening collaboration in numerous areas — including water and agricultural technology, cyber, space, trade, innovation and R&D, tourism, culture and education — there is still a long way to go in bringing these two countries closer together, familiarising current and future leaders across different sectors with each others’ cultures, customs, values, challenges and needs, and bridging these gaps in people-to-people understanding.”

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  1. G
    George Cruz
    Jul 5, 2017 at 6:27 am
    The state of Gujarat has produced great visionaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, and now Modi who would be the next visionary to transform India into a great power in South Asia. India is a democratic/secular country, a growing economic as well as a military power, India's has to be global, this visit by Modi to Israel is extremely important in terms defense technology, and now that the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia is widening. For India it is ever more important to develop closer relations with Israel because of threats from the Islamic Caliphate Pak carved out of greater India as well as the Kashmir Sunni Muslim terror groups like LeT/Hurriyat in the Kashmir Valley. The truth is that the Israelis are democratic/secular/inclusive just like the larger Hindu population, and this closer relation between the countries inevitable.
    Reply
    1. S
      Socrates
      Jul 5, 2017 at 4:07 am
      Arab world (including Pakistan, ever since main stream Pakistanis have foolishly started to identify themselves with Arabs more than on the shared heritage with Indian subcontinent) should take this event seriously. This is no ordinary meeting. The US president was in Israel and then Indian PM was in the US state visit a few weeks apart. They are not discussing weather and global warming for sure, but strategic issues to defeat, once and for all, the Islamic radicalization and terrorism. Good for the world!
      Reply
      1. M
        Mohammad Dar
        Jul 5, 2017 at 5:04 am
        hinduism crime of hinduim racism is not a heritage of human to associate with, but way of hogs of hinduism immorality to live like , their acclaimed daddy, hindu crook monkey, pretending to be human being.
        Reply
        1. S
          Socrates
          Jul 5, 2017 at 5:51 am
          Mohammad Dar > Moron! May our God and your Allah bless your dirty mind and free your pitiful soul from exisiting.
          1. J
            Jack Frymer
            Jul 6, 2017 at 3:05 am
            Easy for you to say! (although may be not so easy!)
        2. B
          Birendra
          Jul 5, 2017 at 4:07 am
          shoot boot ka feku in another foreign trip,he left behind in india are his gaurakshaks,bajrangi,chaddi brigade who are creating a havoc in india and at border chinese are ready to take this feku chaddi and give it to pakis,naked feku now
          Reply
          1. R
            rishi
            Jul 5, 2017 at 2:49 am
            Between India(Modi), Israel(Netanyahu), US(Trump) and Russia(Putin) , the top four peace-loving Nations can comfortably eliminate all terror-centres and failed governments on this planet......Modi is showing the way to the other three and that reflects his sensitivity to the safety and security of India's future generations. We are blessed with his humanitarian approach strongly pursued in his international engagements.
            Reply
            1. I
              Imagi
              Jul 5, 2017 at 3:48 am
              Mentally r e t a r d e d Son of a Brahmin(SoB).
              Reply
              1. R
                rishi
                Jul 5, 2017 at 9:13 am
                self-goal by a communal Imagi....did I anywhere mention 'hindu' in my comment? this mentally- ed crooked-thinker does not know that terror can also be political(ULFA, LTTE, NSCN in the 1980s and 1990s) or religious or both or 'none' ...like in economic terror against Qatar by some countries lately. imagi clearly exposes his limited thinking(read 'crooked thinking') as a victim of psychological barriers that prevent many to see themselves as plain citizens of a Nation on the path to development as a virtue of any progressive government.
              2. M
                Mohammad Dar
                Jul 5, 2017 at 5:02 am
                sure a hindu stupid dream of ho of hinduism immorality by faith, dreaming of the hindu immoral rising sun of hinduism racism, while laying in a hindu filthy ditch of hinduis, racism, high on , high on cow cola, holy drink of hindu stinky more than a hindu stinky skunk, in human form.
                Reply
                1. R
                  rishi
                  Jul 5, 2017 at 9:19 am
                  self-goal by a communal mohd.dar who is living in dar(fear) imposed upon him from birth by his 'sane' world ....did I anywhere mention 'hindu' in my comment? this mentally- ed religiously crooked-thinker does not know that terror can also be political(ULFA, LTTE, NSCN in the 1980s and 1990s) or religious or both or 'none' ...like in economic terror against Qatar by some countries lately. imagi clearly exposes his limited thinking(read 'crooked thinking') as a victim of psychological barriers that prevent many to see themselves as plain citizens of a Nation on the path to development as a virtue of any progressive government....the beneficiaries would be everyone of our future generations except Modi who is spearheading the Nation's security, safety and economic development ....he doesn't have children !
              3. M
                Michelle:Vedic:human
                Jul 5, 2017 at 2:10 am
                history of RAMALLAH in Palestine,--You have to know that Hindu civilization goes at least 32 000 BC while Islam came into existence in 700 AD. Indian science and culture was very popular in the past before Greece. For example it had the first cities of the world in Harappa, Mohanjodor's and Dwarka. All these go back from 6000 BC to 32 000 BC. Ity is quite possible that when people there converted they still kept the Lord Rama's name. Like Ram-daan which means donation in the name of lord Rama or Ram Allah (Ram which is Allah). People forget but names stay.
                Reply
                1. T
                  Tara Chand Khattik
                  Jul 5, 2017 at 1:03 am
                  Nothing wrong in this move but also work for the Palestinian state simultaneously. Israel is a good place to get reasonably U.S. origin military technology. But Modi must be careful as he is just a tea sman who is dealing with crooks. The Jews try control people by money and greed but this often backfires, thus Modi must be careful in dealing with them yet watch things carefully. Also any just criticism and his Jewish friends means that our foreign infiltrated media refers to one as Christian, Muslim or a Commie! . Israel does have some technology obtained from the USA (she is protected by the USA) thus this link is fine as long Modi does not go overboard and let the Jewish tentacles this shall be a cultural, economic, etc. disaster. Also be careful some Jews are using Hindu names to sway the reality and push Jewish agenda.
                  Reply
                  1. M
                    Mohammad Dar
                    Jul 5, 2017 at 12:58 am
                    Very historic meeting, homos exual by faith hog of hinduism racism from the land of hindrance to truth hinduism racism by faith, gets an opportunity to mate with the dog of hinduism racism by faith, the Jew, hoping to get pregnant to produce a hindu filthy animal of its own kind, with a super strain of hinduism racism, to promote hindu criminal manifesto of hinduism, racism around the globe, but to no whale, hindu hijra of hindrastan Modi is not made to required task, for the hinduism disappointment of hogs of hinduism racism by faith, for a sure failure of the experiment. .
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      Sunita Vyas
                      Jul 5, 2017 at 1:16 am
                      Mohammad Dar is not a Kashmiri Muslim but works for Mossad. He is making us attack the great religion Islam so that he can make roads for the Jewish entry. A reral Hindu, lowes the Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. but lets no one interfere. So Dar this is not USA, China or Pakistan that the Jew can have his way. The Chinese with Jewish aid are chopping Muslim beards go fight them.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        Dara Hua Modi
                        Jul 5, 2017 at 1:22 am
                        He he he you englis fail school and write like . "homos exual" ha ha ha ha....
                        Reply
                      2. V
                        Visionary
                        Jul 5, 2017 at 12:41 am
                        Modi is hugging just about anybody. Perhaps, his desire to embrace his female soulmate remains unfulfilled to date and hence this awkward behaviour from him. Poor lust monger.
                        Reply
                        1. M
                          Mohammad Dar
                          Jul 5, 2017 at 1:02 am
                          Becuse he is a hog of hinduism homose xuality, pretending to be a human being, for proof, consult his abandoned for another man, his so called wife.
                          Reply
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