JERUSALEM, June 29 - Israel is going all out to make Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s visit to the country, the first ever by an Indian premier, a memorable one with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in a rare gesture planning to accompany �his friend� to major events.
Netanyahu would be present at the Ben-Gurion airport along with the protocol team on July 4 to welcome Modi where national anthems of both the countries would be played during a ceremony.
Indian-origin Israeli singer Liora Itzhak, who learnt Indian classical music in Mumbai and Pune as a teenager and later also sang songs for Bollywood movies, has been chosen to sing both the national anthems.
The Israeli premier would be hosting Modi the same evening over dinner at his official residence where they will have their first one to one interaction.
The two leaders would be meeting on July 5 again over a working session following which the Israeli premier would host Modi for lunch.
Netanyahu, in a rare show of warmth, would also take Modi personally to the Israel museum in Jerusalem to show some of the rare exhibits related to the Indian-Jewish heritage. The museum has a replica of the Jewish synagogue in Cochin on display.
On top of all this, Netanyahu would also be accompanying �his friend� during his much-awaited address to the Indian community at the Exhibition Grounds in Tel Aviv on July 5 in the evening.
No other foreign leader seems to have been extended such a warm welcome by an Israeli Prime Minister in the past few decades.
The �personal chemistry� between Netanyahu and Modi has been widely discussed in the Israeli media with some of the commentators crediting �this bond� for a perceived �change in policy� and deepening ties.
Netanyahu hailed Modi�s visit to Israel on Sunday during his opening remarks at the weekly Cabinet meeting as a �very significant step� in strengthening bilateral relations that are on a �constant upswing�.
�Next week, the Indian Prime Minister, my friend, Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel. This is a historic visit to Israel. In the 70 years of the country�s existence, no Indian Prime Minister has ever visited and this is further expression of the state of Israel�s military, economic and diplomatic strength,� Netanyahu had said.
�This is a very significant step in strengthening relations between the two countries,� he added.
The two leaders have already met twice on foreign soil on the sidelines of UN-related events and are said to be constantly in touch with each other over the phone.
The Indian Prime Minister would also be meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the leader of opposition Isaac Herzog on July 5. � PTI