Calling Israel as the land of martyrs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that when it comes to courage, size and number does not count.The Prime Minster was addressing the diaspora, including several Indian students and the Jews of Indian origin."Israel is the land of martyrs. Many families here must have a personal story of sacrifices. They have personal tales of martyrdom. I bow to their valor," Modi said.Praising Israel and its people, Modi added that every nation's development is in the spirit and self determination of its citizen and not in its size."Numbers and size doesn't matter, Israel has proven that," Modi said.The Indian Prime Minister, who is scheduled to visit the city of Haifa on Thursday to pay homage to the Haifa Indian Cemetery, also pointed out the role of role of Indian soldiers in liberation of Jerusalem and Haifa.
The Haifa Indian Cemetery is a homage to Indian war heroes who laid down their lives in world wars during the liberation of Haifa. Indian Army, every here on September 23 marks 'Haifa Day'."I pay my homage to Second lieutenant Ellis Aston, who was known by the name 'Indian Aston'. He served in Maratha light infantry. Indian soldiers had played a role behind the independence of Haifa. I'm going there to pay homage," Modi said.Saying, "Jews are great people," Modi also recalled Indian Jew Army officer, Lieutenant General Jacob Farj Rafael, who played a prominent role in 1971 Indo-Pak war. "I went to Benjamin's (Netanyahu) house yesterday and we talked till late night. He gifted me a picture of liberation of Jerusalem by the Indian soldiers," Modi said.
He further drew parallels between Indian and Israeli culture, saying, "our cooperation is of tradition, culture and mutual trust and friendship". "In our Puranas there's a similarity, we celebrate Holi and Israel marks Purin. We celebrate Diwali and in Israel Hanukkah is celebrated," he said.The Prime Minister also recalled the spiritual link between India and Israel, and said that it was the Indian Sufi saint Baba Fareedm, who meditated in Jerusalem in twelfth century.He further wished the Indian players, who arrived here to mark the Maccanbiah games."I was happy to know, that Maccanbiah games are beginning tomorrow and I wish people of Israel for this. And I m happy that India has also sent its team, and Indian players are present here, I wish them best wishes," Modi said.