India's Narendra Modi Heads to Israel in Historic Visit

In a rather unusual step, Benjamin Netanyahu will accompany Narendra Modi for almost his entire trip, in 'an indication that Israel ascribes a lot of importance' to the Indian prime minister's visit

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
DINUKA LIYANAWATTE/REUTERS

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to land in Israel on Tuesday afternoon, his first visit to the Jewish state. The visit will mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Modi will only visit Israel and not the Palestinian Authority, in contrast to most world leaders.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli dignitaries will receive Modi at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem said on Monday at a press conference that Netanyahu, in a rather unusual step, will accompany his Indian colleague for almost all of his 48 hours in the country. “It’s not something we do with other leaders, but it is an indication that it is a historic visit and that we ascribe a lot of importance to it,” he said.

Modi’s visit in Israel will focus mainly on civilian cooperation between the countries in the fields of water, agriculture, innovation, cybersecurity and space. Immediately after the welcoming ceremony at the airport, Modi and Netanyahu will visit the Danziger Dan Flower Farm on Moshav Mishmar Hashiva to observe Israeli innovations in agriculture, with a stress on flower growing and irrigation. Afterward, the two will proceed to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to lay a wreath in the Holocaust memorial’s remembrance hall. Modi will visit the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem in the evening for a joint and intimate dinner with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and Modi will hold a long working meeting on Wednesday at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. They will sign several cooperation agreements and make joint declarations to the media without taking questions from journalists. The two will meet gain in the afternoon at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum and visit the wing on Indian history. Netanyahu and Modi will go to the Tel Aviv Convention Center in the evening and deliver speeches to a large gathering of the Indian community in Israel.

Netanyahu and Modi will travel on Thursday to Haifa and visit the British military cemetery there, where Indian soldiers who fell during World War I are buried. Afterward, the two will visit Dor Beach, near Givat Olga, to watch a demonstration of water desalination using a special vehicle developed in Israel. Later, the two will attend an innovation conference in Tel Aviv with dozens of CEOs of Israeli and Indian companies to promote collaboration between the private and state sectors. Modi is scheduled to leave from Ben-Gurion Airport at 5 P.M. on Thursday.