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July 4, 2017 12:21 pm

After Start of Historic Visit to Jewish State, Indian PM Hails Israeli Heroes as ‘Inspiration for the Younger Generations’

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Indian PM Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu greet each other at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday. Photo: Modi’s Twitter account.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was warmly greeted in Israel on Tuesday, as he arrived at Ben-Gurion International Airport to kick off a historic three-day visit to the Jewish state.

“A strong and resilient relationship with Israel will be my intent and focus,” Modi said at a welcome ceremony attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other dignitaries.

“Alongside building a partnership of shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies against common threats, such as terrorism,” Modi — the first sitting Indian prime minister to travel to Israel — noted.

“Today is July 4,” Modi said. “Exactly 41 years ago, since Operation Entebbe. The day, when your prime minister and my friend Bibi lost his elder brother Yonatan while saving the lives of so many Israeli hostages. Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations.”

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In his own remarks at the ceremony, Netanyahu said to Modi, “We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history, your democracy, your commitment to progress. We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest to provide a better future for our peoples and for our world.”

Netanyahu, the Hebrew news site Walla reported, had ordered his staff to give Modi the same red-carpet treatment US President Donald Trump received when he stopped in Israel in May during his first overseas trip since taking office.

Later on Tuesday, in Jerusalem, Modi and Netanyahu visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the grave of Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl.

Watch the speeches of Modi and Netanyahu below:

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