Here’s How Israeli Media Covered PM Modi’s ‘Historic’ Visit

Live updates, videos and lengthy opinion pieces hailing the ‘historic visit’ featured on Israeli news outlets.

Published
World
4 min read
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem. (Photo: AP)

It’s not just the Israeli government, but the Israeli media as well which seems to have rolled out the red carpet for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit – the first ever by a sitting Indian PM.

Live updates, videos and lengthy opinion pieces hailing the "historic visit" featured on prominent Israeli news outlets.

Haaretz

The top story on the English and Hebrew newspaper Haaretz is dedicated to the Modi-Netanyahu meet with live updates. Other than that, an opinion piece on the website, titled, ‘Why India's Narendra Modi Can Afford to Ignore the Palestinians’, reads:

Israel has long complained that India treats it like a mistress: glad to partake of its defense and technology charms, but a little embarrassed about the whole thing and unwilling to make the relationship too public. With Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel starting on Tuesday – the first ever by a sitting Indian prime minister – it will be like the two countries arriving hand in hand to opening night of the opera season, lit by a barrage of flashing cameras.

The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post features the ‘groundbreaking’ visit as a top story along with an opinion piece titled, “Welcome PM Modi”.

Here’s How Israeli Media Covered PM Modi’s ‘Historic’ Visit

An opinion piece on the news portal reads:

Many parallels can be drawn between BJP and our Likudled government. Both seek to strengthen what they see as a more authentic national identity – Hindutva in India, Judaism in Israel – while maintaining a robust democracy.

Another piece in the paper has been headlined “Netanyahu should not build up 'impossible expectations' during modi visit

Here’s How Israeli Media Covered PM Modi’s ‘Historic’ Visit

An excerpt from the piece reads:

Modi has embarked on an ambitious plan to lift his nation to a new level, and he has identified Israel as a country that can help him do that. Which is flattering. But let’s be realistic. The ability and resources of a country of only 8.3 million people, with plenty of its own challenges to deal with, can only go so far. Netanyahu would be wise in not overstating what Israel has, or is able, to offer – either to the Indian leader or to the heads of African states he now meets on a regular basis. Otherwise, and despite his best intentions, he may end up with angry and disappointed customers.

Through this visit, India is ‘coming out of the closet’ on its relationship with Israel, Seth Frantzman, Senior Editor at The Jerusalem Post, told BloombergQuint, “Modi in some ways as a Hindu and a right wing Prime Minister has many commonalities with the more Jewish and more centre-right in Israel.”

Israeli journalists are also watching out for any statements Modi makes on the Israel- Palestine conflict, he added.

Historically, India has tended to support resolutions against Israel in the United Nations condemning the settlements and things like that. So it will be interesting to see if he talks at all, about playing a role related to the conflict or if the discussions is primarily about other issues, defense, or just primarily about Israeli issues.

The Times of Israel

The Times of Israel also features Modi’s visit prominently along with an interview by Israeli TV station Channel 2, in which PM Modi recommends Yoga as a solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

Here’s How Israeli Media Covered PM Modi’s ‘Historic’ Visit

Earlier, when Modi’s visit had just been announced, a headline in the Times of Israel read India PM to skip Palestinian Authority in upcoming Israel trip.

Here’s How Israeli Media Covered PM Modi’s ‘Historic’ Visit

The paper had quoted a senior official in Jerusalem as saying:

This is going to be a purely bilateral visit. He is coming to visit us, and only us. It’s a great achievement for us.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip are less than pleased with what they perceive as a snub by India.

“He should have come to Palestine. We believe India has good cooperation with Palestine, and we wanted him to come to Gaza as well,” 53-year-old Fathi Tobail told The Indian Express.

Twenty-five-year-old Ali Mohammad Abushbak, who wants to study mass communication at New Delhi’s Jamia Milllia Islamia said: “A lot of people believe the story of Israel, but what about the Palestine story? We are feeling discriminated by this approach of the Indian government.”

Back home in India too, there are detractors of Modi’s visit to Israel. Githa Hariharan, a supporter of the ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’, a global campaign aimed at putting political pressure on Israel to end the oppression of Palestinians, told Al Jazeera:

At present, this link is sharp: both Zionism and Hindutva practice exclusionary politics; both believe in and aspire to states based on religious identity...

“India has, over recent years, got more and more implicated in the Israeli war machine that occupies, kills, and discriminates through apartheid policies against the Palestinians in the [occupied] West Bank and Gaza, as well as its own Arab citizens,” she added.

(With inputs from BloombergQuint.)

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