Narendra Modi becomes first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel

Violet Powell
July 5, 2017

Narendra Modi's historic three-day visit began today in Tel Aviv, where Benjamin Netanyahu personally welcomed him at Ben Gurion airport - a rare airport greeting from the Israeli prime minister. PM Modi will also meet Sandra Samuels and Moshe Holtzberg, survivors of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. "I remember what you told me in our first meeting - when it comes to India and Israel relations, the sky is the limit". Acknowledging Modi's love for acronyms, Bibi delivered one of his own: "I-square-plus-T-square - India and Israel plus Israeli technology and Indian talent, is India-Israel ties for tomorrow". In early 2000 Lal Krishna Advani's visit to Israel marked a high point in bilateral relations between the two nations but Advani somehow could not prevail upon Vajpayee, the then PM to register a visit to Jerusalem.

During the drive from Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem, Netanyahu escorted Modi to the Danzinger flower farm in Mishmar Hashiva, a showcase for agro-technology and one of Israel's leading floriculture firms, where a new fast-growing chrysanthemum flower was named after the Indian premier.

Finally, New Delhi impressed Netanyahu so much that he chose to personally receive Modi at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, an honour which was given only to US Presidents or Pope. It is the first time an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Israel. The two Prime Ministers greeted each other with hugs when they met. India has also long lent support to the Palestinian cause, particularly under the leadership of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Describing Israel as an "important development partner", he said, "This is an exciting journey that we will undertake together, for the good of our people and our society". Much like India's relations in the Middle East, Iran has maintained a balancing act with India and Pakistan, India's rival.

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In 2015 Merkel said she thought the word Ehe (marriage) should be reserved for unions between men and women. "That was the USA secretary of commerce, who had promised us a 10-minute statement", organizer Werner M.

Talking to Hindustan Times after the ceremonial welcome, Micheal Oren, deputy minister in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, said with India and the USA as friends of Israel, a close trilateral relationship would be the future.

Noting that India is an old civilisation but a young nation, Modi said, "We have a talented and skilled youth, who are our driving force". Modi would also call upon Israels President Reuven Rivlin on July 5 and the leader of opposition, Isaac Herzog.

Modi will be in Israel till July 6 before travelling to Hamburg, Germany, to attend the G-20 summit. "As such, we must resolutely oppose the evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence that plague our time", he said.

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