Netanyahu praises 'wonderful friendship' at start of day two of India trip

Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara Netanyahu, went to the site where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated. He wore white slippers, he and his wife laid a wreath on the tomb.

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January 15, 2018 10:09
2 minute read.
Israeli PM Netanyahu and Israeli First Lady present a reef for the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

Israeli PM Netanyahu and Israeli First Lady present a reef for the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.. (photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)

NEW DELHI- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the presidential palace in the presence of ceremonial Calvary and a full military honor guard on Monday, the second day of his trip to India.

"This is the dawn of a new era in the wonderful friendship between India and Israel. It began with the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi in Israel, who created great enthusiasm and continues with my visit here, which I must admit is very moving for my wife and myself, like all residents of Israel. It will help to further nurture our societies, will bring growth, peace and progress to both peoples," he said at the ceremony.

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After, Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara Netanyahu, went to the site where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated. He wore white slippers, he and his wife laid a wreath on the tomb. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the site where Mahatma Ghandi was cremated, January 15, 2018 (YouTube/IsraeliPM)

"Such grandeur and simplicity in honor of modern India's founding father, and one of the world's great spiritual leaders, " Netanyahu wrote in the guest book.

The two leaders met for a couple hours on Monday morning, before issuing statements to the press where they were both effusive in their praise of each other.

Modi greeted Netanyahu with a few words in Hebrew, and Netanyahu ended agreeing to attend a yoga class, should Modi invite him. 

"Invite me to a yoga class, and I'll be there, it'll be a stretch but I"ll come," he said.

Yesterday evening, the Netanyahus met for a private dinner with Modi, with whom the prime minister has developed a warm personal relationship.

This warmth was on display at the very start of the visit, when Modi – breaking with original plans and Indian protocol – personally met Netanyahu at the airport, reciprocating Netanyahu’s meeting Modi when the Indian prime minister arrived in Israel for a visit last July. This is a gesture Modi has shown to only two other world leaders: then-US president Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Diplomatic officials said that Modi’s gestures were meant to show the Indian public – including those members of the public and the foreign policy bureaucracy who might not favor the very close ties which have developed between the countries since Modi took over in 2014 – that Israel is a very important country for India.

Netanyahu today is scheduled for a "road show" in Ahmadabad. This “road show” is scheduled to be an 8-kilometer (4.9 miles) drive from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi lived from 1917 to 1930, and past numerous stations where there will be traditional, local performances.

On Thursday, Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to Mumbai, where he will hold meetings with business leaders and try to promote Israel as a place to make movies during an event with Bollywood actors, directors and producers.

In Mumbai he will also take part in two memorial ceremonies, marking the terrorist attacks in 2008 that killed 164 people.

One of the ceremonies will take place at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, one of the sites of the attacks, and the other at the local Chabad House. There he will be joined by Moshe Holtzberg, 11, who as a toddler survived the attack that took the lives of both of his parents. The boy will be accompanied by his grandparents and the Indian nanny who saved his life and who now lives – as he does – in Israel.


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