TEL AVIV: Holi and Purim; Diwali and Hanukkah. Connecting with the Indian community in Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi enthralled Israelis of Indian origin at a gala function at the Exhibition Ground in Tel Aviv and lauded their spirit of enterprise and acting as the human bridge between India and Israel.
It was vintage Modi show as the Indian leader addressed over 4,000 Jews of Indian origin and inspired them with his eloquent oration about his vision of creating a new India by 2022. Israel is home to around 100,000 Jews of Indian descent.
The Indian leader began his stirring speech by noting that this was the first time that an Indian Prime Minister had come to Israel, and it had taken a long period of 70 years after independence. He profusely thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the warm welcome and respect accorded to him throughout his visit.
Alluding to centuries of civilizational relations between India and Israel, Mr Modi underscored that the relationship between India and Israel was underpinned by shared traditions, culture, trust and friendship.
Mr Modi noted impressive technological progress made by Israel, and its long traditions of bravery and martyrdom. He recalled that Indian soldiers had played a key role in the liberation of Haifa during World War and alluded to contributions of the Indian Jewish community, both in India and Israel.
Mr Modi was all praise for the spirit of innovation in Israel, and noted that Israel had made great progress in areas such as geo-thermal power, solar panels, agro-biotechnology and security.
He assured the Indian community in Israel that OCI cards would be given to them, even if they had done compulsory army service in Israel and announced that an Indian Cultural Centre would be set up in Israel.
Alluding to economic reforms undertaken by his government, he mentioned the roll-out of GST, auctioning of natural resources, insurance and banking sector reforms, and skill development, among others. He said the government plans to double income of farmers by 2022. He said the partnership with Israel is key to ushering the second green revolution in India. He added that science, innovation and research would be the foundation of ties between India and Israel in the future.