Now, in an effort to to strengthen ties between Israel and India, the Indian government has announced it will be holding a special cricket tournament in Israel.
The tournament will be held at the beginning of March in one of three southern cities – Dimona, Beersheba or Ashdod. Plans for the tournament were announced by Indian Ambassador Navtej Singh Sarna during a reception held at his residence in Herzliya-Pituach to mark 62 years of Indian independence.
Hundreds of Israeli-Indian expats and Indian businessmen who are active in Israel's business community took part in the event which opened with the hoisting of the Indian flag.
The ambassador announced that the India Cup – the cricket tournament – will be held to benefit the Indian expat community in Israel – a community of 70,000, most of whom are fans of India's national sport, cricket.
Direcotr-General of the Israeli Cricket Association Naor Gudker said that there are many cricket fans in Israel, mostly Indian expats. According to Gudker, they follow the cricket league in India via satellite. "I think the India Cup tournament will really bring the Israeli and Indian people closer. The response will be much better than that of most of the Indian film and culture festivals held in Israel."
Yosef Eliyahu, 72, an Indian expat and cricket fan said that most Indian expats in Israel are traditional but that doesn't stop them from playing cricket on Shabbat. "We have tried to think of creative ways to get closer to the expat community in Israel and there is nothing quite like a game of cricket to bring people together," said embassy spokesman Sujit Ghosh. According to Ghosh, the tournament is set to become an annual event.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook