Israel calls for more Indian investors and backs India in combating terrorism

Israel government

Visiting Israeli Minister of Economy Nir Barkat has called for more Indian investors in Israel and mentioned that the acquirement of the strategic Israeli port of Haifa by Adani Group is a “testimony that we trust the Indian business people.”

“I think it’s a fact that Israel allowed an Indian company to acquire one of the two ports Israel has. It’s a testimony that we trust the Indian business people. We trust the Indian government,” he said in an interview with ANI.

“I want to welcome more investors to invest in Israel. It’s in the benefit, best interest of both sides, both countries and people and we believe it’s a good investment and we want to make sure that the return on investment is such that more investors from India will come to invest in Israel’s high-tech startup infrastructure. We’d love that,” he added.

Last July, Adani in partnership with Israel’s Gadot Group, secured rights to buy 100 per cent shares of Haifa Port Company Ltd. The Port of Haifa is the second largest port in Israel in terms of shipping containers and the biggest in shipping tourist cruise ships.

Earlier this month, former Ambassador of Israel to India Ron Malka was appointed as Executive Chairman of the Haifa Port owned by Adani Group and its Israeli partner Gadot Group.

On India’s G20 Presidency, the minister said that G20 is a big accomplishment of India.

Speaking further about combating the terror challenges together, the minister said terrorism is a global challenge and Israel is working with India to combat the menace. Talking about Iran, the minister said “we will never surrender to terror.”

“Terrorism is not just an Israeli challenge. It’s a global challenge. We knew, we are working together with India on how to make a better world, how to have better agriculture, food, water, health, and how to use technology to have a better world. But, unfortunately, the terrorists want to wipe Israel off the map. They are working together with Iran and Iran is funding global terrorism in our region,” the minister said.

“They are funding Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and regimes in Syria and other places, and they pose a threat to Israel. And just the other week or two weeks ago, unfortunately, the terrorists killed three members of a family, just because they were Jews. Just for being Jews, they were murdered. Israel has developed a very clear message, we will never surrender to terror and if God forbid the proxies in Lebanon and the Iranian proxies will try to target Israel, we will hit Iran,” he added.

The Israeli Minister also spoke on how India and Israel share a lot of experience in security and in counterterrorism.

“Israel has demonstrated that we know how to strike peace with Egypt for 40 years, with Jordan for 25 years now. Thank God, we have the Abraham Accord. And the last thing I would say on this point is that both Israel and India have similar challenges, here in a tough neighbourhood. We are challenged together and that’s why we share a lot of our experience in security and in counterterrorism together on how to become offensive because the best defence is offence and we share that knowledge with our friends here in India,” he said.

Further speaking on the opportunity of collaboration and India-Israel ties, the Minister said that he was inspired by the collaboration between the Israeli economy and the Indian economy and added that Israelis love Indians and Indians love Israelis.

On the Free trade agreement, the Minister said that he believes that the big opportunity is in the business world and will check out the opportunity to do a Free Trade Agreement, side-by-side with the business development between the nations adding that he is very optimistic that “we’ll be able to do really good deals together”.

“It’s about sharing best practices. I just finished the meeting with Minister Piyush, discussing the collaborative work that we need to do together. Each side brings its knowledge and experience, skills to this relationship. Israel brings technology, entrepreneurship, ideas that are usually fresh and new and the scope and the size of India are certainly relevant for us Israelis. Once we know how to solve and create joint ventures together in India and market to a big country like India, then it’s easier to go to the rest of the world,” the Israeli economy minister said.

Talking about the recent protests in his country, the minister said that he was proud of his democracy and that “we’ll have to sit together and figure out how we make those reforms in a way that is accepted widely by the Israeli public”.

“I’m proud of our democracy. Like other big democracies in the world, we saw a big dispute in England between Pro Brexit and against Brexit. In the United States, there are challenges between Republicans and Democrats. We’re a real democracy in the fact that people are willing and want to go and demonstrate in the street. They care about our country. And we’ll sort it out. We’ve sorted bigger issues in our lives before. We believe in democracy. We believe that the changes we want to bring are going to improve the democracy. Other people think otherwise, we’ll have to sit together and figure out how we make those reforms in a way that is accepted widely by the Israeli public. You know that there are ups and downs in every country,” the minister said.

Talking further about the Israel – Palestine conflict, the Minister said that the “Palestinians will have to get to an understanding to recognize Israel and that we have our right to exist” and “when they come up with the real will to do peace, we will strike peace with the Palestinians”.

On being asked when India can expect other ministers including Netanyahu to visit the country, the minister said that “he is going to recommend friends in the government, that it’s a big opportunity of doing a lot of business in India”.

“I’ll speak to the foreign minister that I believe will come shortly. And I strongly recommend, Prime Minister Netanyahu to come and pay a visit and see Modi again here in India and hopefully, we could propose some really important progress on the way we do business together in the near future. I am thrilled and excited about the opportunity and I’m going back home, extremely happy and inspired by this trip,” the minister said.

Expressing his happiness over his India visit, the minister applauded India’s religious tolerance and was happy to see India scaling and growing.

“It’s a huge opportunity and the love that I received here in India is second to no other place in the world and it’s just wonderful. I also said that the religious tolerance here is something that is very special. The tolerance between people. I was mayor of the city of Jerusalem, which is very tolerant. In one-quarter of a square mile, you have more mosques, synagogues and churches than anywhere in the world and the fact that all of these religions are respected. You can go walk the streets and see practising Muslims, Christians and Jews, practising their religion side-by-side. That reminds me of that kind of tolerance. I’m very happy to see how India is scaling and growing.”

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