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Israel PM Benjamin Netanyhu is showcasing his friendship with Modi in re election bid

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyhu is showcasing his friendship with Modi in re-election bid

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyhu is showcasing his friendship with Modi in re-election bid
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By CNBC-TV18 Sept 16, 2019 11:01:03 AM IST (Published)

The elections — the second this year — became inevitable after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition after a vote in April.

Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is  showcasing his friendship with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the hustings as looks to return to power in the national elections on Tuesday. The elections — the second this year — became inevitable after Netanyahu failed to form a governing coalition after a vote in April.

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Netanyahu is facing the fight of his political life as he faces a raft of corruption charges.
Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, has dominated the political discourse during a campaign that is largely seen as a referendum on his rule. The combative leader from the Likud Party has run a carefully scripted campaign where is portrayed as being in a "different league" and shows him embracing his friend, President Donald Trump, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, India's Narendra Modi and other world leaders.
A win in Tuesday’s elections could come as a major booster for Netanyahu who is battling major corruption charges. Israel's attorney general has recommended pressing criminal charges against him in three separate corruption cases, pending a long delayed pre-trial hearing scheduled for early October — just three weeks after the election.
The April election and Tuesday's vote in Israel largely coincide with India's own election season and shows a close connection between the two countries. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become an indirect variable in Netanyahu's electoral calculus by appearing in the Likud Party's campaign posters.
While the personal chemistry between Modi and Netanyahu is not a secret, Netanyahu boasting about his relations with Modi in election posters is something that has never happened in the history of two countries. In fact, until few years back any mention of Israel in during India’s election season could have put any political party on back foot given the presence of a significant Muslim minority in the country.
The bonhomie between Modi and Netanyahu has been on full display since the Indian PM was first elected in May 2014 who was congratulated by the Israeli PM. Since then, the personal chemistry, backed by largely ideological affinity by their parent right-wing organisations, has transpired in various meetings, bilaterally as well as on multilateral platforms, twitter congratulations and phone calls.
In July 2017, Modi became the first-ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Netanyahu returned the visit to India in January 2018 and planned at least two visit to India this year, both cancelled due to his election bid. But Netanyahu contacted Modi to clarify that the repeated cancellations should not be interpreted as a diplomatic slight.
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