The contrast in style and approach between the two leaders to cement a stronger Indo-Israeli partnership couldn't be starker. While President Pranab Mukherjee saw pluralism of India and Israel as the strength of their respective society, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu tried to make common cause between the two countries as victims of "Islamic terror" to unitedly fight the scourge of terrorism.
The Indian President told Israeli leaders that "religion cannot be the basis of a state." It is the pluralism of its society that gives it dynamism and strength, he argued. He pointed out debate, discussion and dissension were the three key elements of a thriving democracy that should be encouraged and not suppressed.
Netanyahu on the other hand saw a common threat to Israel and India from Islamic fundamentalism and urged for the two countries to unite to meet the challenge it poses together.
"We in India believe in live and let live. Violence cannot be the answer. You can choose your friends but you cannot choose your neighbours," he told the Israeli Parliament, Knesset, during his maiden address there on Wednesday. He stressed on the same point and virtues of pluralism to Israeli leaders hours before as well.
The Israeli Prime Minister argued in favour of living side by side with the Palestinians and agreed with the idea of recognising a Palestine state if the neighbours agreed to recognise the Israeli state. But made it clear that there will be no compromise with terrorism and terror groups.
President Mukherjee highlighted the diversity in India and told Israeli parliamentarians that Cochin is perhaps the only place in the world where a synagogue, a mosque, a temple and a church co-exist peacefully on the same street. "India and Israel are separated by two seas but joined by their common belief in the power of diversity and democracy," he said.
PM Netanyahu, who spoke in parliament soon after the Indian President, highlighted the alarming speed at which the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups were expanding their influence. Referring to destruction of historical and iconic structures by the IS he asked the Indian leader, "How will you react if someone tried to blow up the Taj Mahal?"
He also made it a point about his closeness with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and made it a point how the two of them are constantly in touch. Frequently mentioning Modi as a personal friend, Netanyahu said the Indian PM had sought Israel's help, something which he was more than willing to do, in the four-coloured development of India. Saffron-representing energy, white for dairy and milk products, green for agriculture, blue for fisheries—using the colours in the flag of the two countries to show the various sectors where a cooperation between the two sides can flourish.
The Israeli PM also spoke about possible cooperation between the two sides on cyber security since this was an area that was exceedingly being used by terror groups to thwart the growth of democratic and open societies.
However, Israeli opposition leader Issac Herzog found the sage advice given by the Indian President to Israel as something that the country can learn from India. He lauded India for its successful journey to integrate its minority and move forward together in its march to progress, development and prosperity.