By Rhea Mathur
Israel, a country once under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, was freed from their dominance by Indian soldiers. This battle was known as the Battle of Haifa, and it helped Israel attain its freedom. Teen Murti stands for the three bronze statues made to honour the Indian soldiers who fought this Battle of Haifa in 1919. To mark the centenary of this battle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in Central Delhi to salute the soldiers. These soldiers gave their lives facilitating the deep bonds of gratitude that the two countries now share.
Since 1919, the two countries have provided each other with both economic and military support. This can be proved by the fact that after Russia, Israel is the largest defence supplier to India. Both countries also frequently receive diplomatic visits from each other. The year of 1997 marks the first visit from an Israeli President in India. Now in 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit proves the integrity of the bond between the two countries. Netanyahu was present to honour the soldiers with the Indian Prime Minister.
In fact, during Narendra Modi’s last visit to Israel, it was voted that the Teen Murti Chowk, the war memorial, would be renamed. Now, incorporating the name of the Israeli city, Haifa, the memorial is known as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk.
The memorial is also situated at the same roundabout as Teen Murti Bhavan, the first official residence of India’s former prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. This is no simple coincidence since both Nehru and his Israeli counterpart, Ben Gurion were in constant contact even as early as 1962. Nehru wrote to Gurion, a message of gratitude, thanking him for his concern for India during the India-China border conflict. Gurion replied to Nehru’s letter with a hope for prosperity for India. He stated that in Hebrew, the name of their capital, Jerusalem, means ‘the city of peace’. He conveyed that Israel stood for the “preservation of peace” and that they were ready to provide any support necessary for India to rid itself of this conflict. It also appeared that Gurion had great respect for Nehru as a leader as he wished that India would “once again be able to devote its undivided energies” under Nehru’s “distinguished leadership”. Thus, the change in India’s first prime minister’s residence would be in accordance with his relationship with leaders in Israel.
Thus, on 14th January, the Prime Ministers of the two countries were present for the renaming of the war memorial saluting the bravery of the Indian soldiers. The new year marks the end of the centenary of the first World War as well as the Battle of Haifa. This event represents the strong bonds between India and Israel and celebrates the idea of peace as opposed to the destruction brought by the World War.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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