Home >Politics >Policy >Modi in Israel Day 2 highlights: India, Israel launch tech fund

New Delhi: The focus on Day 2 of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Israel visit has been on more substantive and bilateral-level issues with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. PM Modi earlier started his day by meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem. He later held bilateral level talks with Netanyahu and concluded seven agreements in different areas, including a focus on expanding anti-terror cooperation and elevating relations to strategic partnership.

On his first day in Israel, Modi mostly spent his time with PM Netanyahu and jointly addressed the media, calling for a global fight against the menace of terrorism.

Modi’s three-day trip to Israel began on Tuesday and has received tremendous attention in the Israeli media and society. The Indian PM was personally received by Netanyahu at the airport in Tel Aviv and is being accorded a welcome similar to Western leaders and the Pope.

Here are the major highlights of the second day of PM Narendra Modi’s Israel visit:

■ Israel and India launched a five-year technology fund aimed at growing the countries’ business relationship, the way a similar fund has boosted the Jewish state’s ties with the US for the past 40 years.

The Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund, or I4F, was announced Wednesday during an unprecedented visit to Israel by PM Narendra Modi.

Modi, Netanyahu discuss Middle East situation, hope for peace

Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu today hoped that peace, dialogue and restraint will bring about stability in the Middle East that has been marred by years of conflict. India and Israel live in complex geographies and are aware of strategic threats to regional peace and stability, Modi said after holding wide-ranging talks with Netanyahu on Day 2 of his Israel visit, the first by an Indian prime minister.

“India has suffered firsthand the violence and hatred spread by terror. So has Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and also cooperate to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism in West Asia," he said. “We also discussed the situation in West Asia and wider region. It is India’s hope that peace, dialogue and restraint will prevail," the prime minister said.

■ Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has gifted Prime Minister Narendra Modi a photo that depicts Indian soldiers leading a British military column to liberate Jerusalem. Netanyahu gifted PM Modi the photo during a private dinner that he hosted yesterday for the Indian premier at his residence Beit Aghion in Jerusalem with his wife.

India, Israel sign seven bilateral pacts

India and Israel today signed seven agreements to increase cooperation in key sectors like space, agriculture and water conservation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held in-depth talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up of $40 million worth India-Israel Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund.

In the water sector, two agreements were signed to increase cooperation on water conservation and state water utility reform in India.

In the agriculture sector, the two countries have agreed for India-Israel Development Cooperation—a three-year work programme in agriculture from 2018 to 2020. They also agreed for cooperation regarding cooperation in atomic clocks. Besides, separate MoUs were signed on cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link and cooperation in Electric Propulsion for small satellites.

Highlights of foreign secretary S. Jaishankar’s presser after Modi-Netanyahu talks

—India and Israel elevate their relationship to strategic partnership.

—Modi and Netanyahu asserted that fight against terror won’t succeed if it is segmented.

—Israel for strong measures against terror, including those who finance and give sanctuary to terrorists.

—Cooperation on homeland security to be strengthened between India and Israel.

PM Modi meets 26/11 survivor Moshe Holtzberg

In a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who was just two years old when he lost his parents in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Modi’s decision to meet Moshe, now 11, along his grandparents was an emotional moment for the family.

Modi also met Moshe’s Indian nanny Sandra Samuels, who managed to escape with him from the Nariman House which came under attack by Pakistan-based LeT terrorists, and his grandparents Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg.

Moshe was two when his parents Rivka and Gavriel Holtzberg, serving as emissaries of Chabad in Mumbai, were killed along with six others by terrorists at the Nariman House, also popularly known as Chabad House. Moshe now lives in Afula, Israel, with his grandparents—Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg and his wife Yehudit Rosenberg.

He now goes to a yeshiva (religious school). He is still very attached to his nanny Sandra who works in Jerusalem and joins the family over the weekends.

■ Voicing their common concern over the growing menace of terrorism and radicalism, India and Israel today agreed to cooperate to protect their strategic interests and called for strong measures against terror groups and their sponsors.

India has suffered first-hand violence and hatred spread by terror groups so as Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after holding wide-ranging talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on the second day of his landmark visit.

Modi said during their talks he and Netanyahu agreed to do much more together to combat terrorism to protect their strategic interests.

Later, a joint statement said the two leaders recognised that terrorism poses a grave threat to global peace and stability and reiterated their strong commitment to combat it in all its forms and manifestations.

“They stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever," it said.

The leaders asserted that strong measures should be taken against terrorists, terror organisations, their networks and all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, it said.

Both leaders also committed to cooperate for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International terrorism (CCIT), the statement added.

“Our goal is to build a relationship that reflects our shared priorities and draws on enduring bonds between our peoples," said Modi, who is the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.

The two sides signed seven agreements, including in areas like space, agriculture and water conservation.

India and Israel also agreed to set up a $40 million fund for industrial Research and Development, and innovation fund, with both countries contributing $20 million each.

Highlights of Modi-Netanyahu press statement

— Israel and India have signed a series of agreements to cooperate in the fields of technology, water and agriculture.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday the cooperation marks a “match made in heaven" as he stood alongside the visiting Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

— India and Israel agree to set up a $40 million fund for industrial R&D and innovation fund, says PM Modi.

— India has suffered first-hand violence and threats from terror as has Israel. We have agreed to protect our strategic interests: PM Modi.

— We discussed the situation in West Asia and the wider region. It is India’s hope that peace, dialogue and restraint will prevail: Modi.

— We are being challenged by forces of terror. We have agreed to cooperate in this area: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu after talks with Modi.

— “I take this chance, Prime Minister Netanyahu, to invite you and your family to India," says Modi. Netanyahu accepts PM’s invitation.

■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi today got a glimpse of the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the al-Quds al-Sharif, from the window of a hotel where he met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I want to show you (something)," Netanyahu told Modi after they shook hands before the bilateral meeting at the King David hotel here.

Netanyahu took Modi towards the window and pointed his finger outside saying, “This is called the old (Jerusalem) city and the Temple Mount is there. It is all very small..."

The Golden Dome of Rock, also known as Qubbat al-Sakhrah, and the old city of Jerusalem was visible from the window.

“This the cradle of our history," the Israeli prime minister said. Modi was seen attentively hearing Netanyahu’s narration of the place while looking outside the window.

The Temple Mount, a hill located in the old city of Jerusalem, is one of the most important religious sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are part of the site.

■ Revenue worth $25 billion can be generated in India and Israel through cumulative cross- border investment into start-ups in these two countries, a joint report by Nasscom and Accenture today said.

The report titled ‘Collaborative Innovation: The vehicle driving Indo-Israel prosperity’ noted India and Israel’s innovation ecosystems share unique innovation complementary traits in three areas—temperament, talent and technology.

■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on the second day of his landmark Israel visit, the first by an Indian premier. Ahead of the restricted talks with Netanyahu, Modi called on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Modi, who arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday for a three-day visit, met Netanyahu for restricted talks first. The Prime Minister then held delegation-level parleys.

He thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for hosting the historic visit and playing a crucial role in writing an important chapter in bilateral ties.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, the Prime Minister mentioned his stay and interactions in Israel since yesterday that reflected trust and clarity in the unfolding chapter in bilateral relations, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.

Prime Minister Netanyahu called Modi’s visit ground- breaking and emphasised that he sees history in making in his talks with the Indian premier.

■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties and how Israel’s cutting-edge technology could help the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Describing Israel as a real friend, Modi recalled Rivlin’s visit to India in November last year.

Hailing the ties between the two nations, Modi said: “ it is ‘I to I and I for I’. When ‘I say I for I, I don’t mean the popular saying but what I mean is India with Israel, India for Israel".

Modi, who arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday for a three-day visit, met Rivlin at his residence in Jerusalem.

“The President of Israel welcomed me so warmly, he broke protocol. This is a mark of respect for the people of India," Modi tweeted.

“It is a privilege to meet President Rivlin again today. I fondly recall his visit to India last November when he charmed us with his affable manner and desire to do more with India," Modi wrote in the guest book at the President’s residence.

Modi said during his visit to India, Rivlin started a phrase ‘Make with India’ and “I feel since my arrival yesterday that has been echoed by many people and I think what you started has now percolated to all levels".

Rivlin on his part described Modi as one of the greatest leaders in the world. “We have a lot in common and doing a lot in common. We understood very well about your thought about the need to help partners who will ‘Make in India’," Rivlin said.

■ Renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan symbolises the talent of people of India, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, emphasising that the two countries believe in the partnership of talent. Expressing his admiration for Ramanujan, Netanyahu said he was one of the greatest mathematicians of all times.

“We have a great admiration for people of India. I told you about my late uncle professor, who was a mathematician at the Israel Institute of Technology. He told me many times about his admiration for the great Indian mathematician Ramanujan," Netanyahu said in a statement along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“He was perhaps the greatest mathematician in many centuries. And this symbolises the talent of people of India, as we know we have talent in Israel. We believe in this partnership of talent," said Netanyahu.

■ “Moshe is excited and emotional. We all are. We attach a lot of importance to the visit of Modi to Israel and his deciding to meet us," Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg told PTI over phone from Jerusalem.

Modi is making a special point by meeting 11-year-old Moshe, who survived the 2008 attack that claimed the lives of his parents, Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the directors of the Chabad House.

“We all are here at Jerusalem from Afula to meet the Indian prime minister. This meeting is very important to us as the prime minister, who represents 125 crore Indians, has shown a desire to meet Moshe and us," Rosenberg said.

■ Modi has gifted his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu replicas of two sets of relics from Kerala, regarded as key artifacts of the long Jewish history in India. They comprise two different sets of copper plates that are believed to have been inscribed in 9-10th Century, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The first set of copper plates is a cherished relic for the Cochin Jews in India. It is regarded as a charter describing the grant of hereditary royal privileges and prerogatives by the Hindu King, Cheraman Perumal (often identified as Bhaskara Ravi Varma) to the Jewish leader Joseph Rabban.

According to traditional Jewish accounts, Joseph Rabban was later crowned as the Prince of Shingli, a place in or equated with Cranganore. Cranganore is where Jews enjoyed religious and cultural autonomy for centuries, before they moved to Cochin and other places in Malabar.

Local Jews once placed in each coffin a handful of earth from Shingli/Cranganore that was remembered as a holy place and a “second Jerusalem". The replica of these plates was made with the cooperation of the Paradesi Synagogue in Mattancherry, Kochi.

The second set of copper plates is believed to be the earliest documentation of the history of Jewish trade with India. These plates describe the grant of land and tax privileges by the local Hindu ruler to a church. And oversight of trade in Kollam to West Asian and Indian trading associations.

West Asian association included Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, as also a group of Jews, who signed in Judeo- Persian and possibly also in Arabic and Pahlavi (Middle Persian).

The plates bear their signatures that appear to have been cut into the plates by a local workman unfamiliar with the script, the PMO tweeted. The replica of these plates was made with the cooperation of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in Thiruvalla, Kerala.

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