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India to set up Cultural Centre in Israel

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced the setting up of an Indian Cultural Centre in Israel as part efforts to enhance people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

Prime Minister Modi, who became the first Indian premier to visit Israel when he landed in Tel Aviv yesterday, held wide-ranging talks with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu today.

Modi, while appreciating the contribution of the Jewish community in India and Jews of Indian origin in Israel in bringing the two societies closer, announced the opening of an Indian Cultural Centre in Israel, according to a joint statement issued after the talks between the two leaders.

“This was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Netanyahu who expressed his deep respect for Indian culture and recalled Israel’s strong support and sponsorship of PM Modi’s initiative to promote the practice of Yoga by designating June 21 as International Yoga Day,” it said.

Just days before Modi’s landmark visit, Noah Massil, the founder President of Central Organisation of Indian Jews in Israel, had said that such an announcement would “fulfill a long time dream of the Indian community here”.

“We have been trying hard to establish an Indian cultural centre in Israel like the one in Cairo (Egypt),” he had said.

“There are about 47 synagogues of the Indian Jewish community and they all can also pitch in with financial support if such a proposal comes up and the government allocates land for an Indian cultural centre,” Massil said.

—PTI