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Israeli envoy to India: An academic, yoga lover with focus on bolstering ties

July 24
07:49 2019

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) He served as intelligence officer in the Israeli Army, is an academic, has been practising yoga for the past 20 years and is an expert in scuba diving and sailing. Israeli Ambassador to India Dr Ron Malkas love for India goes back to 24 years, when he says, he was “astonished and fascinated” by the country and wanted to return.

Dr Malka did return to India – as his country’s envoy. With his 25 years of experience as an army officer of which nine were spent in the intelligence wing of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the close defence ties between India and Israel are set to get a fillip.

Despite being in the army and later an academic, as Dean of Faculty of the Financial Markets and Banking in the Ramat-Gan Academic College, Ambassador Malka, a PhD in Economics, is no dry persona.

Giving a go-bye to the stiff and distant behaviour that career diplomats are normally known to cultivate, Dr Malka gave his own introduction on the embassy’s Twitter handle, including talking of growing up in his home by the sea, introduced his wife and three children, including twins.

Dr Malka, an avid yoga practitioner, does the difficult ‘sarvang asana’ with ease, and :shares his love for yoga with other Israelis”.

Ahead of International Yoga Day on June 21, Dr Malka had shared a picture of his meeting with the granddaughter of renowned yoga exponent B.K.S. Iyengar.

“Ahead of my first Yoga Day in India, I would like to thank B.K.S. Iyengar for transforming my life with Iyengar Yoga over 20 years ago. I was fortunate to meet his granddaughter, Abhi, in Pune earlier this year and thanked her in person.

“Having practised Iyengar yoga for many years, I was deeply moved to visit the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Center in Pune and met Guruji Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar’s granddaughter,” he posted.

He introduces his wife Lea as a “successful career woman” who served as CEO of a commercial company in Israel. His three children are Amir, 15, and twins are Asaph and Maya, 12.

Looking graceful in a turquoise blue saree, the envoy’s wife joined the #SareeTwitter movement on July 16. Dr Malka tweeted a picture of himself with his wife, writing: “My beautiful wife Lea loves wearing sarees and I think she has serious #sareeswag. I am proud to be accompanied by this graceful woman here in India.”

Comfortably explaining the intricacies of business and economics to students and serving as economic advisor to the Prime Minister’s commission to review the defence budget, the ambassador looks most at home while at sea, sailing.

Born in Acre, a small town in the Mediterranean in the north of Israel, Dr Malka grew up in a house that was 300 metres from the sea line. “It explains my love for maritime activities such as sailing, scuba diving, swimming and more,” he says.

Dr Malka was Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s own nominee for the important diplomatic post.

The envoy, who served as director and acting chairman of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange after retiring from the army 11 years ago, says, “India and Israel are strategic partners working together to achieve prosperity, security and peace. We are all part of the vision to double the farmers’ income within a few years.

“From security to food security, from education to innovation, I will make sure we do more in the areas of agriculture, water, defence, and cyber security. And hopefully we shall see more Indian students in Israeli universities and more tourists visiting. I believe that these activities will bring the people of our two nations closer together.”

“Incredible India is very important for the world, and has a significant role in the world’s stabilisation,” says the envoy.

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