Israel: A Spiritual Haven

Thousands of yoga mats were rolled out at the Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, Israel as Israelis, Indians in Israel and yogis from across the world came together to participate in yoga sessions and an evening of relaxation and rejuvenation under the clear blue skies. With the buzz over yoga hitting a huge high, The Embassy of India marked the third International Day of Yoga on June 21 with dedicated yoga sessions for all. Clearly, Yoga has arrived in Israel and how! It has become the way of life and yogis can be spotted everywhere. There are thousands of practitioners in Israel and the numbers seem to be growing every year. Over 2,000 yoga enthusiasts gathered at the Rabin Square on the evening of June 21, 2017. There was a carnival like atmosphere with stalls selling coconut water, nut butters, Ayurvedic products, yoga wear and mats.

The Embassy of India celebrated the 3rd International Yoga Day in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tel Aviv Municipality as part of India and Israel’s plans to hold a series of events to celebrate 25 years of their diplomatic ties. Although it had recognised the country in 1950, India established full diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992. Various yoga organisations Ashtanga Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Tri Yoga, Shivananda Yoga, Yoga for Children, Vinyasa Yoga and Acro Yoga Inbar held yoga sessions and workshops culminating with Art of Living, Dr. Rohit Sabharwal and his team’s common yoga protocol session.

Special messages for the Yoga Day from the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar were screened. Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India in Israel, inaugurated the event by lighting the lamp alongside Dr Anju Kumar, Deputy Chief of Mission, Tammy Ben-Haim, diplomat at Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other dignitaries. Dr Anju Kumar, who has been working relentlessly for the success of the International Yoga Day celebrations stated, “The idea of international Day of Yoga was first proposed by the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi during his speech at the UNGA, in September 2014. His much awaited trip to Israel in the first week of July is the first visit by any Indian Prime Minister and promises to further strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two countries. We were very keen to host this event at a historical venue like Rabin Square, a public plaza in Tel Aviv, Israel. This was formerly called Israel Kings’ Square and was renamed Rabin Square after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated here in 1995. Many months of planning and preparation have gone behind the success of this annual event.”