JERUSALEM- Sushma Swaraj, India’s newly appointed foreign minister, has in the past publicly defended Israel against naysayers, and is said to be a strong admirer of the late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, the Times of Israel said in a report today. Swaraj, 62, the first Indian woman to receive the foreign affairs ministerial portfolio, called Israel “a reliable partner” in 2008, according to the Economic Times. The statement arose in the context of criticizing the left-wing parties’ opposition to the Israel-India diplomatic relationship. Swaraj came to Israel’s defense and asserted that the government recognized the significance of ties with the Jewish state as well. Swaraj also served as chairwoman of the Indo-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group from 2006 to 2009.