Gautam Adani’s speech at the Handover Ceremony at the Port of Haifa, in the presence of Honorable Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
January 31, 2023 Jennifer Paldano Goonewardane.
My brothers and sisters from Israel, Honorable Prime Minister and India’s best friend, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Honorable Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Ms. Miri Regev, Honorable Minister of Energy, Mr. Israel Katz, Honorable Minister of Environmental Protection, Ms. Idit Silman, His Excellency Mr. Sanjeev Singla, Ambassador of India to Israel, Honorable Mayor of Haifa, Dr. Rotem, former Haifa Port Chairman S L Amoni, CEO Gadot Group, Opher Linchevski, and distinguished guests. It is a moving experience to be here on this historic day. I have spoken in many foreign lands but I must admit never in any foreign land have I felt so inspired. Never in any foreign land have I admired it as much as this land and most of all never in any foreign land where I do not feel foreign. I passionately believe that the Israeli spirit makes all the difference and no one could have articulated this spirit better than your first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion when he said “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” Israel and its people are indeed the manifestations of several miracles.
In terms of history, our friendship extends well before we became independent in 1947 and 1948. The most memorable day that binds our friendships together was the 23rd of September of 1918. It was on this day that our soldiers from the Indian cities of Mysore, Hyderabad, and Jodhpur battled in this very city for the freedom of Haifa. And earlier today I had the opportunity to visit the cemetery where our soldiers have been laid to rest. It was a moving moment for me to reflect on the fact that the port that we now share is part of the same city where soldiers from both our countries fought side by side for the ultimate sad cause that we all call freedom.
The proof is in how this country has demonstrated growth. Israel is an outcome of its ability to beat all odds with the sheer power of science and technology.
Israel has always motivated me. You have rewritten the rules of what a country with a population of less than 10 million can achieve. You have rewritten the rules by proving what a country with very few natural resources can achieve. And you have rewritten the rules by showcasing what a country with self-belief can achieve. The elasticity of Israel makes it the world’s most resilient nation. The proof is in how this country has demonstrated growth. Israel is an outcome of its ability to beat all odds with the sheer power of science and technology. Your pace of innovation across multiple sectors amazes me. Your drive for innovation makes me wonder how we can learn from you. Your focus on sustainable growth was far before the world was thinking about sustainability. You focused on water, energy, and soil conservation well before they became mainstream trends. It is staggering to imagine how a nation with less than 10 million population can have a GDP of $500 billion.
My dear friends let me now talk about our presence in Israel. Today’s occasion is the outcome of a lot of hard work that has been put in over the last six years. Over these years we have struck many critical partnerships that include Elbit Systems, Israel Weapon Systems, and the Israel Innovation Authority. We have initiated several dozen technology relationships wherein we have offered the entire Adani portfolio of companies to be a giant sandbox for us to learn together. We are also in the process of setting up an Artificial Intelligence lab in Tel Aviv, which will work in close collaboration with our new AI labs in India and the US. We also anticipate establishing collaborative relationships with local colleges like the University of Haifa to be able to capitalize on the deep technology expertise available in this city. And now we have the most momentous partnership of all – the Haifa Port along with our valued partner Gadot. Honorable Prime Minister, this privatization initiative was actioned when you were the Prime Minister and it is only fitting that today it is you who are handing the port to us at this memorable ceremony. Talking about the Haifa Port, I am very confident that with the support from the Government of Israel, the local authorities, and our partner, Gadot we will transform the entire port landscape. We realize that there will be competition from others. But our confidence comes from our belief in the people of Israel and therefore, our belief in the Israel growth story.
Our intention is to make the right set of investments that will not just make the Adani-Gadot partnership proud but will make the whole of Israel proud. The acquisition of Haifa Port also comes with a significant amount of real estate and I promise you that in the years to come we will transform the skyline we see around us. The Haifa of tomorrow will look very different from the Haifa that you see today. With your support, we will deliver on this commitment and do our part to transform this city.
My dear friends, in closing, let me quote two lines penned by one of your most famous poets, Yehuda Amichai. “A man doesn’t have time in his life to have time for everything. He doesn’t have seasons enough to have a season for every purpose.” I found these lines tremendously inspiring. As we try and transform our nations, we all come to the realization that we will never have time for everything that we want to do. However, the journey must go on as new seasons arrive. What I have come to realize is that the seasons you celebrate in Israel are passion, tenacity, belief, and drive. These seasons give you purpose. What you have proven is that these are the only seasons that matter.
I am grateful for all your support, your friendship, and your inspiration. Thank you. Shalom.