Ahead of Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of lights, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, exchanged warm greetings on social media, The Algemeiner reported Tuesday.
Netanyahu wrote on Twitter in Hindi: “On behalf of the people of Israel, I would like to wish my dear friend @narendramodi and the people of India a joyous Diwali.” The prime minister added: “May this luminous festival of lights bring you happiness and prosperity. Reply to this tweet with the name of the city where you’re celebrating!”
In return, Modi retweeted the message, called Netanyahu a friend, and promised to share photos when he will celebrate the festival with Indian soldiers.
“Bibi, my friend, thank you so much for the Diwali wishes,” Modi tweeted in Hebrew. “Every year, I visit our border areas and surprise our troops. This year too, will spend Diwali with our brave troops. Spending time with them is special. I will share photos of the same tomorrow evening.”
Netanyahu and Modi have met on numerous occasions and established a close personal relationship. In July 2017, Modi kicked off his three-day trip to Israel, the first-ever by an Indian head of government, which was described by Netanyahu has “historic.” The Israeli leader toured the Indian subcontinent this past January.
Last year, Israel and India celebrated the 25th anniversary of the official establishment of diplomatic relations. Ties between the two countries have flourished in numerous realms in recent years.
Netanyahu and Modi have both hailed the “dawn of a new era” in their relations, after signing agreements in defense, agriculture and aviation. In natural gas and oil, they agreed to strengthen cooperation in exploration, production, and research and development. They will advance academic ties and start-ups. The two countries also signed cooperation deals in cyber-defense, security and science.
“India and Israel are living proof not only that democracy works but they demonstrate something deeper – the intrinsic value of freedom which I believe is the intrinsic value of life. India stands out in the community of nations because over 2,000 years the Jews of India have never experienced anti-Semitism as our people experienced in so many other lands. This is a tribute to your civilization, to your tolerance, to your humanity,” Netanyahu said.
[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube]