Beach stroll by Modi, Netanyahu makes internet waves
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Beach stroll by Modi, Netanyahu makes internet waves

At Haifa's Olga Beach, two premiers get their feet wet, see demonstration of mobile desalination unit

A beach stroll by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his counterpart Narendra Modi caused online waves on Thursday, with the two men seen wading barefoot into the surf together.

The beach trip came on the last day of Modi’s visit to Israel, the first-ever by an Indian prime minister. They had gone to the beach to see a demonstration of a mobile water desalination unit.

It was closed to journalists, but images and video were distributed by the Israeli government showing the two men walking together into the water barefoot at Olga beach in northern Israel.

Some on social media took Netanyahu to task for not sufficiently rolling up his pant legs, with the images showing them getting wet. Others joked about a budding “bromance.”

Netanyahu later gave Modi a copy of the photo of their visit to the beach.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a picture to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi of the two leaders' visit to Haifa's Olga Beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a picture to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi of the two leaders’ visit to Haifa’s Olga Beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

They later drove together in the mobile water desalination unit — which looked like a dune buggy — and sipped samples from wine glasses, even toasting before they did. A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said the vehicle can provide up to 22,000 people with drinking water a day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visit the water desalination plant at Olga beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visit the water desalination plant at Olga beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

Modi and Netanyahu have sought to extend Indian-Israeli cooperation beyond the billions of dollars in defense deals between them during the three-day visit.

The two leaders presented a series of agreements for cooperation on satellite technology, water and agriculture, as well as the creation of a $40 million innovation fund.

Israel already sells India an average of $1 billion per year in military equipment. The country has also excelled at water and agriculture technology, which India has shown an interest in.

Modi’s visit marks 25 years since India and Israel established diplomatic relations.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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