JERUSALEM: Israel on Tuesday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “moving tribute” to former president and “key architect of India-Israel friendship” Shimon Peres on his death anniversary.
Peres, a Nobel laureate, died on September 28, 2016.
Peres as minister for regional cooperation had visited India twice, in August 2000 and January 2001.
He visited India for the third time in January, 2002 as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.
In glowing tributes to the former Israeli president, Modi in a video message, said that “he (Peres) had a special place in his heart for India”, which was reciprocated by the Indians, and that his “life and work will continue to inspire humanities.”
“It’s been four years since we lost president Peres. His was a life devoted to Israel,” the prime minister said.
Recalling the late Nobel laureate’s farewell speech to the Israeli parliament, Modi said that “his love for his people” could be seen in what he said then.
“I am taking leave of my position as president but not from my duty as a citizen. I was a President who loved his people, as of now I am a citizen in love with my people,” Modi quoted Peres to have said.
The prime minister also attributed Israel’s success in the field of science and innovation to the efforts of its late president.
“He knew the dangers of the world. That is why he made efforts to further world peace. He believed in science, innovation and technology,” Modi said.
“He rightly said that science and information are friends of all nations. It is wonderful to see Israel emerge as a technology powerhouse and as a start-up nation. This was something for which he worked through his life,” the prime minister said.
Modi also credited Peres for “creating a strong foundation” that helped “scale new heights” in Indo-Israel ties.
“Shimon Peres had a special place in his heart for India. He appreciated our common democratic and cultural values. He came to India many times as a friend. India also has a great affection for him. Today, as ties between India and Israel scale new heights, it is because greats like Shimon Peres created a strong foundation for that,” he said.
“I can never forget my own interaction with him in 2014. He was full of energy, full of optimism and sharp as ever. All of us, the people of India and Israel, will continue to work together to realise his great vision. A vision of a 21st century partnership between our great ancient civilisations,” he noted.
“We owe this to him. I pay my tributes to president Peres. His life and work will continue to inspire humanities,” he said.