India`s Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Indian diaspora in Israel to visit India more often and announced plans to launch flight service to Tel Aviv from Delhi and Mumbai. He promised to ease the process of acquiring Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards by Israelis of Indian origin. People of Indian community who have done compulsory army service in Israel will be eligible for OCI cards. He also announced that an Indian Cultural Centre would be set up in Israel. Soon after ascending the dais at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, PM Modi touched upon the fact that this was the first ever visit by an Indian premier to the Jewish nation. Modi also said that India`s ties to Israel are about tradition, culture, mutual trust and friendship. Israel has shown that more than size, it is the spirit that matters, the Indian leader said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also joined PM Modi on-stage. Greeting the 6,000-strong audience with a “Namaste”, Netanyahu expressed his love and respect for the Indian community in Israel. In a firm endorsement of the deepening cooperation between India and Israel, Netanyahu said with PM Modi`s historic visit, the two leaders were building a future between the two democracies. There are 80,000 Jews of Indian-origin living in Israel.
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