Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at 6 pm on Tuesday, a first by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish nation. His Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior ministers will receive him at the airport. Ahead of his visit, Netanyahu said this is a historic visit and no Indian Prime Minister has ever visited Israel in the 70 years of the country’s existence. In a statement to the media, Netanyahu said: “Modi’s visit is further expression of the state of Israel’s military, economic and diplomatic strength and is a very significant step in strengthening relations between the two countries.”
While PM Modi’s visit to Israel is undoubtedly significant for India, Israeli media have reacted with a sense of optimism and euphoria at the development.
Here is how Israeli media is reporting PM Narendra Modi’s visit:
The Jerusalem Post
An editorial by The Jerusalem Post on July 3 noted, “The political transformation that has taken place within India has also had an impact on its foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel. During Operation Protective Edge, India refrained from criticizing Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip. In July 2014, India abstained in the vote on the UN report condemning Israel for Operation Protective Edge.”
The editorial also said, “We welcome Prime Minister “Narendra Modi, join him in celebrating 25 years of diplomatic ties and look forward to a new era of cooperation and innovation in the ties between our countries.”
The Jerusalem Post also reported, “This is the first time an Indian prime minister is visiting Israel, that too without visiting Palestine in the same trip, which would have been unthinkable during non-BJP regimes. Two Cabinet ministers have already set the tone by excluding Palestine from their visit to Israel. This de-hyphenation of India’s relations with Israel is widely welcomed in India by all except the Communists and Islamists.”
This opinion piece in Haaretz said India remains friendly to Palestinians “on paper” but not much else. It said, “On paper, India remains friendly to the Palestinians and to Mahmoud Abbas, who New Delhi calls the “president of Palestine”, not of the Palestinian Authority. However, his visit to India in May was low-key and the declaration India made in support of a two-state solution notably failed to mention East Jerusalem as Palestine’s future capital.” The report said, “Modi’s visit will not include a stopover in Ramallah as most world leaders visiting Israel do.”
The Times of Israel
A report in The Times of Israel said that Modi’s three-day visit is a landmark moment for the Jewish state, a country seeking the friendship of powerful allies and customers for its advanced military equipment. But the trip is a cause of genuine excitement and a unique opportunity for members of the small Jewish Indian community in Israel to increase their visibility.
Giving much importance to PM Modi’s visit, Israel’s business daily ‘The Marker’ started its article with the headline, ‘Wake up: the most important PM of the world is coming’. In its Hebrew edition’s feature story discussing Indo-Israel ties, the paper said that US President Donald Trump had visited Israel, but “he didn’t say much” while Modi, a leader of 1.25 billion people deserves a lot of attention.