Does Israel have any friend in the region?
In case of Egypt, throughout the period, we have had extremely good ties. With respect to friendship, it is a matter of meeting interests. In case of Jordan and Egypt, we have had peace treaties. There have been upheavals in Egypt, but the peace treaty is maintained. However, if you ask Egypt, they will deny it. Egypt says we are paying heavy price for that peace treaty.
In the near future, persecution, which defines the Israeli state of mind, will it change?
For every PM, the first goal is security of the country. Our existence is not accepted by all. There are existential threats. That is one of our main concerns. But otherwise, as a society, we are very vibrant. There is a sense of ‘here to stay’. Earlier there were apprehensions, but now things have changed. We are more positive.
Are Jews from India moving to Israel?
That has dropped now. Lately fewer Jews have moved to Israel. In the 50s and 70s there was movement, but that has decreased now.
How do you find the security set up in India? Did you conduct your own inquiry post 26/11?
We get very good co-operation from authorities with respect to security issues in India. Particularly what happened after the 26/11 attacks. However, with respect to our own investigations into 26/11, I would say that it would be encroaching on another country’s sovereignty.
Can you say something about Israeli films?
There are movies on conflicts we have in Israel. But more than that, there are comedies and movies on culture. There are movies with Jewish identity and Israeli culture. Both are different. Jewish movies are about diaspora. Israeli movies are about the youth in that country.
The youth in Israel have their own identity and they are assertive about it. Talking about the movies, we would like to have a Bollywood film being produced in Israel. We would like to give support to such a movie. There are some excellent sight-seeing places and this could be long term goal. There can be a Bollywood-Israeli co-operation.
Besides movies and tourism, what else can India and Israel look up to?
We have recently taken a decision to look eastwards. India and China both are our priority. From the $5-6 billion trade we have, 50% is of rough diamonds. That is not indicative of the scope of co-operation we can have.
There are some very high tech solutions that can be useful here. These are in the health sector and medical technology. We have made some revolutionary achievement in agro-technology. These can be adapted to Indian markets. For example drip irrigation can be used for rice crops.
The productivity and quality has increased. In some cases shelf life of crops has increased considerably. In case of pomegranates, it is nine months. We will open a centre in Maharasthra that looks to improve the productivity of Hafus mangoes.
India is the biggest dairy market, but the cows do no yield as much milk. We can look forward to improve that too. A lot can be done if the technology is adapted as per local needs with right partners and pricing.