A Grim Future In Israel

Prelims level : International Mains level : GS-II Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
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Why in News?

  • Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to win a record fifth term in the country’s most closely-fought general election in years after his main rival conceded
  • With more than 99 percent of votes counted, Netanyahu’s Likud party is set to lead a right- wing bloc with 65 of the 120 seats in parliament. Netanyahu’s key rival, Blue and White Party’s Benny Gantz, accepted the result on April 10, acknowledging that he had failed to unseat the prime Although Gantz’s Blue and White Party was set to win a similar number of seats to Likud, there was no obvious path for its leader to find a parliamentary majority, as a number of right-wing parties expressed their support for Netanyahu.


  • Benjamin Netanyahu is one of Israel’s longest-serving leaders, having served 10 uninterrupted years as Prime Minister. He had previously held the position from 1996 to 1999 when he had become Israel’s youngest-ever Prime Minister.
  • His tenure has been marked by a collapse of peace talks with the Palestinians, confrontation with Iran, armed conflict with Hamas and hostility toward what he views as plots to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state. At the same time, Netanyahu has overseen an era of healthy economic growth and stability, thawed relations with Sunni Arab leaders and expanded Israeli trade ties in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The prime minister is entangled in corruption scandals that could lead to his

Sources of support:

  • Trump’s gift on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s formation last year, shifting the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and consigning the Arab third of the city’s population to a future of indefinite occupation. US recognising of Israel’s annexation of Golan heights.

India-Israel relations:

  • India had formally recognised Israel in September 1950.
  • Embassies were opened in 1992 after full diplomatic relations were established.
  • Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture have been the main pillars of bilateral In recent years, bilateral ties have expanded to areas such as education, science and technology and homeland security. The future vision of the cooperation is of a strong hi-tech partnership as both countries leading knowledge economies. Both countries have friendly political ties.

Trade and economic Relations:

  • The bilateral trade from $200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds) has reached $5.19 billion in Since then it has stagnated around $4.5 billion.
  • The diamonds constitutes close to 50% of bilateral trade between both countries.
  • In recent times trade has diversified into several sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, IT and telecom and homeland Major exports from India to Israel include precious stones and metals, textiles and textile articles, chemical products, plants and vegetable products, and mineral products.
  • Major imports by India from Israel include precious stones and metals, chemicals (mainly potash) and mineral products, base metals and machinery and transport equipment.

FTA Talks:

  • Israel is very much keen on the relaunch of the negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to boost ties. New Delhi promised Israeli companies that it would address their concerns and make it easier for them to do business in The FTA talks had begun a decade ago and missed the 2014 deadline.

Defence Relations:

  • India is already buying an average of $1 billion per year in military equipment.
  • The earliest India-Israel defence collaboration took place during the 1962 Sino-Indian war when Israel provided military aid to
  • Israel also helped India during its two wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.
  • India reciprocated by helping Israel during the six-day war in 1967 by supplying spare parts for French-made Mystere and Ouragan aircraft as well as AX-13 tanks. In April 2017, India and Israel had signed a $2 billion deal for an advanced medium-range surface-to- air missile system which will be helpful for the Indian army to shoot down aircraft, missiles and drones

Space collaboration:

  • India and Israel have signed a cooperative agreement promoting space collaboration between both nations. The two countries have also signed an agreement outlining the deployment of TAUVEX, an Israeli space telescope array, on India’s GSAT-4, a planned navigation and communication satellite. The GSAT-4 itself failed to launch, due to the failure of its cryogenic engine.
  • In 2008, TecSAR was successfully inserted into orbit by India’s PSLV. One of TecSAR’s primary functions       is       to       monitor       Iran’s       military            In 2009, India successfully launched RISAT-2, a synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite. The launch of the RISAT-2 satellite aimed to provide India with greater earth observation power, which would improve disaster management, and increase surveillance and defence capabilities.

Agriculture cooperation and water conservation:

  • In 2008, Israel and India finalised an agricultural plan introducing crops native to the Middle East and Mediterranean to India, with a particular focus on olives. Subsequently, around 112,000 olive trees were planted in the desert of Rajasthan. In 2014, more than 100 tonnes of olives were produced in Rajasthan.
  • In 2008, Israel and India signed the Agriculture Cooperation Agreement, which established the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation The project’s central aim is to utilise Israeli technology to increase crop productivity and diversity in various regions in India.

Israel’s role in the Middle East and Why Israel is so significant?

  • Israelis have gifted the land they had fought for years over for having a safe Jewish country after the Holocaust. Palestinians inhabited the land before Israelis and Jewish refugees flooded So the territorial disputes remain intact. The twin goals of Israel’s foreign policy have always been peace and security two concepts that are closely interrelated.
  • The Middle East is a mixture of peoples, religions, languages and cultures. Although the Muslim-Arab culture is predominant, it has not produced any homogeneity. The region is permanently in ferment, and frequently unrest flares up in violence, terror, insurrection, civil strife and open prolonged
  • Being a superpower, Israel plays a huge role in the stability of Middle East by just The only reason many Arab countries talk to each other and have an organisation (Arab League) is that the only common ground they have is their hate for Israel. So, Israel has a very passive role in the stability of the Middle East.
  • Israel takes a larger humanitarian role and expands the medical help to wounded civilians from Syria. It has also played a pivot role in handling refugee camps from the war-torn Syria and
  • Moreover, the technological and industrial advancements of Israel can have a ripple effect around the middle- east region; especially the exceptional water conservation techniques adapted by Israel can have the holistic advantage to the arid and barren lands of Arab countries.

Way Ahead:

  • India and Israel have inked two agreements in the field of water resources management and agriculture
  • Starting from 1991 with the break-up of Soviet Union and end of Cold War, Indo-Israel relations have improved substantially.
  • Defence sector has been guiding light in the development of relations.
  • From Buyer-Seller relationship, today India and Israel are moving towards Joint production of defence equipment, which dove tails well into India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and attaining strategic independence in defence
  • Relations are diversified to also include agriculture, Nano-technology, space research and a understanding on counter-terrorism.
  • The above reasons and huge good will that India generates among Israeli population makes one to call them ‘Natural Allies’.
  • But India should continue its Multi-vectored approach towards its diplomacy and build multiple alliances and resist the temptation to call Israel as its natural ally because of the following
  • Iran, the Israel’s natural enemy is the only possible land route to India to reach the resource rich Central Asia in case the situation in Afghanistan goes against Indian
  • Presence of huge Muslim population in India requires it to maintain good relations with Arab world, which opposes Israel.
  • India needs the help of Saudi Arabia as much as Israel to counter terrorism.
  • Human right violations of Israel in Gaza and west Bank might become a head ache for India, which is so far a principled supporter of Palestine cause.
  • So for the above reasons, India’s national interest is better served by building multiple
  • alliances and leverages than proclaiming Israel as its natural ally.
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