A budding and beautiful relationship…
MODI AND ISRAEL’S COMING OF AGE
The Indian PM’s historic visit is a good opportunity for Israel to understand what it must do to expand its current success.
When in 1992, India and Israel forged full diplomatic relations, the Indian government was reacting to a transformation in the international arena, rather than to changes that were specifically related to the Jewish state.
In 1991 and 1992, in response to the US victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, a large group of countries restored or inaugurated full diplomatic relations with Israel. These states – including the Russian Federation and China – had by and large been either on the Soviet side of the war, or leaned toward Moscow. Their refusal to forge full ties with Israel, a key US Cold War ally, became a liability in the US-dominated post-Cold War global order. Hence, they abandoned their Cold War rejection of Israel and instead embraced it.
Although ingratiating themselves with Washington loomed large in the considerations of most governments involved, they also took the step due to Israel’s independent power. If Israel had been a strategic basket case facing an uncertain future, then even in the face of the demise of the Soviet Union, Moscow and its allies could well have had second and third thoughts. Why anger the Arab world by recognizing a soon-to-be gone Jewish state?
Had Israel recognized and built on the sources of its power and attraction for other governments, it would have spent the rest of the 1990s strengthening itself still further – defeating Hezbollah in Lebanon, weakening the Iranian regime and working with the Americans to end its ballistic weapon program. It would have moved quickly to liberalize its economy to enable the million new Israelis from the former Soviet Union to immediately transform Israel into the global innovator rather than waiting for this to gradually occur over decades.
Instead, in 1993, then prime minister and defense minister Yitzhak Rabin and then foreign minister Shimon Peres decided to go off on a strategic tangent.