By Harihar Swarup
Few in India know how Israel has come up, the struggle and hardship it has to face. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel and it is a wise decision. It is a small country, surrounded by hostile neighbours but lives on its own terms. Israel’s population is mere 80 lakhs; it is surrounded by 56 Arab countries having population of 150 crores.
Israel came into existence in 1948, and despite small population and lack of resources, it made its separate identity. Ranging from Agriculture to Defense, this small nation achieved remarkable success. The first President of Israel Wiseman died in 1952 at the age of 73. The problem arose who should succeed him. The then Prime Minister Ben Gurion approached Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein who was living in Washington. When Hitler started persecution of Jews in Germany, Einstein escaped to US and settled down there.
Einstein declined to accept Israeli citizenship and become the country’s President, saying that all his life he has been away from public life and devoted his time in research. “I will not be able to discharge this responsibility. Moreover, I have also aged and not fit to carry this responsibility”.
Followers of three great religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—are connected with Jerusalem. Judaism is 4000 year old. Karl Marx, Picasso, Michel Angelo were all Jews. After advent of Islam, clashes started between Muslims and Jews.
Militarily Israel is very strong; it is said to be having biggest Air Force after US, Russia and China. Most of its land is barren and there is acute shortage of water. Despite this drawback, Israel produces 95 per cent of food grains to meet its requirement. To tide over the shortage of water, it has developed drip irrigation. The country uses 85% of sewage water for irritation. In the field of agriculture this small nation has performed wonders; developed crops which can be grown with scant water.
Despite desert all round, Israel has developed technique to grow a wide variety of fruits like oranges, grapes, mausami, apples and bananas and export them to Europe. An Israeli cow produces maximum quality of milk—10,000 litres while American cow produces 9331 litres while cows of European countries produce 6139 litre each.
One peculiarity of Israel is that it does not crib when made target of terrorists’ attack; neither it asks help from other countries. When in the Olympics held in Germany the Israeli sportspersons were attacked and killed by terrorists, its Intelligence MOSAD traced the extremists one by one and killed them. Not only this, during Hitler’s rules Jews were killed in large numbers. MOSAD traced those involved in murders of Jews and killed them one by one. Some of those responsible of extermination of Jews were kidnapped, tried and hanged. These persons had fled Germany after fall of Hitler and settled in different countries.
Even though Israel was born in 1948, India recognized it in 1950 and that too under pressure of America and gave permission to it to open its consulate in Mumbai. In 1992 Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao established full diplomatic relations with Israel and an embassy was opened in New Delhi. The building on Prithiviraj Road in which Israeli embassy was opened belonged to Biju Paknaik. His son Naveen sold half of the building to controversial builder Tejwant Singh. Tejwant, in turn, handed it over to Israeli embassy.
In 1962 war with China, Israel came to help of India and supplied it arms and ammunitions. In 1965 war with Pakistan, both US and Soviet Union declined to give arms to both India and Islamabad. At that time Israel militarily helped India. In 1968 when under R N Kaw, Indian intelligence agency RAW was setup, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi asked him to try to improve India’s relations with Israel and take help of MOSAD. Later during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister, he wanted Raw to seek more cooperation with MOSAD.
The advantage of improving relations with Israel was far reaching. When India propped up Muktivhini (liberation army) in Bangladesh, Israelis provided arms and ammunitions.
Israel knew that China, North Korea, Pakistan, Libya and Iran were giving training to terrorists. Therefore, Tel Aviv wanted India’s help to keep an eye on these countries. Situation changed when in 1977, Janata Party government was formed.. The then Prime Minister Morarji Desai invited Israeli Prime Minister Moise Dayan on a secret visit to India. Morarji cautioned Dayan that this visit was made known, it may pose danger to his governments Both the Prime Ministers discussed the possibility of destroying the nuclear site being developed by Pakistan in Kathua, near Rawalpindi.
In 20008 when Mumbai came under terrorists’ attack, the then Israel Prime Minister talked to his counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh and offered to send a team to deal with terrorists but Dr Singh was not ready for it. (IPA Service)