Israel Musings January 23, 2014: Harper spends remainder of Israel trip playing tourist and being honored

ISRAEL MUSINGS

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent the remaining day and a half of his four-day Israel trip on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 21 and then Wednesday, Jan. 22 playing the tourist, taking in some of Israel’s holiest sites…READ MORE

Israel Musings January 22, 2014: Harper and Netanyahu hold joint cabinet meeting and press conference

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ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Israel Musings January 21, 2014: Canadian PM Harper pledges staunch support for Israel in historic Knesset speech

ISRAEL MUSINGS

ISRAEL MUSINGS: OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Canadian PM Harper pledges staunch support for Israel in historic Knesset speech

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For the first time in history a Canadian Prime Minister has addressed the Israeli Knesset. On Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 Stephen Harper on his first trip to Israel became the first and only Canadian leader to have the honor of…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 20, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Marking the Visit of PM of Canada, Stephen Harper, in Israel

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Knesset Marking the Visit of PM of Canada, Stephen Harper, in Israel

Source: PMO, 1-20-14

יום שני י”ט שבט תשע”ד

Photo by GPO
– Translation -

Mr. Speaker,
Ministers,
Members of Knesset,
Head of the Opposition,
Supreme Court Justice, Hanan Melcer,

Distinguished visitors from Canada, ministers, senators, everyone else is distinguished, too. But above all, my dear friend, Israel’s great friend, the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

The warmest welcome to you, Stephen, to you dear wife, Laureen and to your entire delegation. The people of Israel deeply appreciate your steadfast support, your sincere friendship. Welcome to Israel, dear friend.

Stephen, you decided to start your visit to Israel with a lookout over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.

This is the Jerusalem that has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people since the time of King David, 3,000 years ago. There are those in the international community who try to refute our connection to Jerusalem and our land, but not you. You are well familiar with the facts, past as well as present. I want to tell you, Members of Knesset, that there are others in the international community who also know the facts; but unlike the others, Stephen, you have the courage to stand up for the truth, and you have the courage to say the truth.

We live in an age of hypocrisy. In this age of hypocrisy there are those who, instead of dealing with the real problems of the Middle East – the slaughtering of thousands, the trampling on human rights, the systematic oppression of women, minorities and religions – in this age of hypocrisy, there are those who choose to denounce Israel, the only democracy in the region, where human rights are respected, where the rule of law is maintained and freedom of religion is guaranteed to members of all faiths.

In this age of hypocrisy that we live in, Canada, under your leadership, is a moral compass and a beacon of decency. You fight the attempts to deny the State of Israel’s legitimacy. You stand with us in the war against terror. Canada, and you Stephen in particular, fight anti-Semitism fearlessly. I believe that you understand and appreciate our desire for peace, true peace, peace that is based on the Palestinians recognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people – because that is the root of the conflict and always has been, and I hope it will be solved one day, perhaps soon – and peace that is based on solid security arrangements.

Stephen, you went from Jerusalem to Ramallah today. I am certain that you realized that the distance is not that great. I think that there are streets in Toronto that are longer than that. If I am not mistaken, Young Street is longer than the state of Israel. That illustrates why we yearn for peace – because we live so close to each other. But it also demonstrates why we require steadfast security arrangements – because in such short distances, we have no margin of error. We have to be very precise. We must make certain that after reaching an agreement, what happens in Ramallah is an explosion of construction, not a blast of rockets launched at us, like we have seen and still see in Gaza.

Distinguished guests, thousands of kilometers separate Canada, calm and vast, from Israel, not so big – bigger than life perhaps, but not as large as Canada – and dealing with endless existential threats. The geographic distance is immense, but our two peoples are truly close. This closeness, rooted in our hearts, narrows that distance.

Canada was one of the 33 countries which voted for the UN resolution to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. When Israel was established in the midst of war, volunteers arrived from Canada to fight in the War of Independence. One of the most prominent volunteers was Ben Dunkelman, a Toronto-born Jew who was a war hero in the Canadian army. He was in the invasion of Normandy, and wanted to come here, and use the military experience he had gained in World War II to help the embryonic Jewish state. He participated in the breaking of the siege of Jerusalem, and then commanded the Armored Brigade that freed the Upper Galilee.  This is what he wrote in his memoir: “I was simultaneously a Canadian and a Jew, and neither as a child not as an adult did I find any conflict between the two.”

This is the distinctive spirit of Canadian Jews which I encounter every time I visit: a warm, vibrant community, proud of its Jewishness and proud of Canada. Prime Minister Harper, my friend Stephen, Canada and Israel march together, shoulder to shoulder, throughout the years. Our two peoples believe in the future, a future of progress, of technology, of initiative, of freedom. These are the principles that I know guide you in Canada, and these are the principles that guide us here, in Israel.

In this visit, we are discussing ways to further enhance the ties between us, as cooperating with each other helps make both countries stronger, more prosperous, more progressive. I hope that the day comes that we will find partners here in the Middle East who share our vision, many partners. I hope that the parliaments will cooperate; I hope that there will be real parliaments. For example, let’s look at Syria. Here in the Parliament, as you have seen Stephen, anyone can speak their mind. They can stand up, talk, yell, irritate. But these are not things that can be done in Damascus. Only here in Israel do we have freedom. I must say that I have not found that our friends, Israeli Arabs, want to take leave of Israel. They all want to be here, and justly so. I understand them. I think I made my point about the robustness of Israeli democracy. That’s easy.

But looking forward, our feet must stay firmly planted in the ground. The Middle East outside of this home, outside of this country, is turbulent and unstable. But more than anything, what threatens peace, stability and security, and I add progress in the Middle East, is Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. The international community’s objective must be to stop Iran from achieving nuclear capabilities. That goal is still ahead of us.

The interim agreement, which went into effect today, does not stop Iran from realizing its goal of making nuclear weapons. Producing the fissile material, the core of the atomic bomb, is like a train that stops in three stations: station 1 – enriching uranium to 3.5%, station 2 – 20%, and the final destination – 90%. The Geneva agreement cancelled the 20% station, but left the train on the tracks, enabling Iran to improve and upgrade the engine by developing new centrifuges. When the time comes, Iran will be able to leap to the last stop faster, on an express line, without stopping at the stations on the way. In a final agreement, the international community must derail the Iranian nuclear train. Iran must not be left with the ability to build nuclear weapons.

Stephen and distinguished guests, I believe that it is time that the international community, which has recently been easing sanctions and giving Iran legitimacy, also demand that Iran stop calling for Israel’s destruction and arming terror organizations: Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and others. There is no justification for legitimizing a regime like Iran that maintains its murderous policy, and there is every reason to demand that it dismantle its nuclear capabilities and its radical policy.

I know Stephen, that our concerns are your concerns. You fully share our desire to see a stable, safe and peaceful Middle East. Canada, under your leadership, is one of Israel’s closest allies, and you will find that we have a fascinating country, a wonderful land, and we are happy that you and your dear wife, Laureen, have the opportunity to visit parts of it. Wherever you go, you will feel the deep friendship that the citizens of Israel have for you and your country. We will always have a close friend in Canada, and in you, a friend and leader of great stature, whose name will always be remembered with pride in the history of our relations.

Welcome to Jerusalem.
Bienvenue a Jerusalem.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 20, 2014: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic speech to Israel’s Knesset

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Full text of Harper’s historic speech to Israel’s Knesset

Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the Knesset on Monday, January 20, 2014. Harper is visiting Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan on this trip.

Source: Globe and Mail, 1-20-14

Shalom.

And thank you for inviting me to visit this remarkable country, and especially for this opportunity to address the Knesset.

It is truly a great honour.

And if I may, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my wife Laureen and the entire Canadian delegation, let me begin by thanking the government and people of Israel for the warmth of your hospitality.

You have made us feel extremely welcome.

We have felt immediately at home.

Ladies and gentlemen, Canada and Israel are the greatest of friends, and the most natural of allies.

And, with your indulgence, I would like to offer a reflection upon what makes the relationship between Canada and Israel special and important because the relationship between us is very strong.

The friendship between us is rooted in history, nourished by shared values, and it is intentionally reinforced at the highest levels of commerce and government as an outward expression of strongly held inner convictions.

There has, for example, been a free trade agreement in place between Canada and Israel for many years, an agreement that has already proved its worth.

The elimination of tariffs on industrial products, and some foodstuffs, has led to a doubling in the value of trade between our countries.

But this only scratches the surface of the economic potential of this relationship and I look forward to soon deepening and broadening our mutual trade and investment goals.

As well, our military establishments share information and technology.

This has also been to our mutual benefit.

For example, during Canada’s mission to Afghanistan, our use of Israeli-built reconnaissance equipment saved the lives of Canadian soldiers.

All such connections are important, and build strong bridges between us.

However, to truly understand the special relationship between Israel and Canada, one must look beyond trade and institutions to the personal ties of friendship and kinship.

Jews have been present in Canada for more than 250 years.

In generation after generation, by hard work and perseverance, Jewish immigrants, often starting with nothing, have prospered greatly.

Today, there are nearly 350,000 Canadians who share with you their heritage and their faith.

They are proud Canadians.

But having met literally thousands of members of this community, I can tell you this:

They are also immensely proud of what the people of Israel have accomplished here, of your courage in war, of your generosity in peace, and of the bloom that the desert has yielded, under your stewardship.

Laureen and I share that pride, the pride and the understanding that what has been achieved here has occurred in the shadow of the horrors of the Holocaust; the understanding that it is right to support Israel because, after generations of persecution, the Jewish people deserve their own homeland and deserve to live safely and peacefully in that homeland.

Let me repeat that: Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so.

This is a very Canadian trait, to do something for no reason other than it is right even when no immediate reward for, or threat to, ourselves is evident.

On many occasions, Canadians have even gone so far as to bleed and die to defend the freedom of others in far-off lands.

To be clear, we have also periodically made terrible mistakes as in the refusal of our government in the 1930s to ease the plight of Jewish refugees but, as a country, at the turning points of history, Canada has consistently chosen, often to our great cost, to stand with others who oppose injustice, and to confront the dark forces of the world.

It is, thus, a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular.

But, I would argue, support today for the Jewish state of Israel is more than a moral imperative it is also of strategic importance, also a matter of our own, long-term interests.

Ladies and gentlemen, I said a moment ago, that the special friendship between Canada and Israel is rooted in shared values.

Indeed, Israel is the only country in the Middle East, which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

These are not mere notions.

They are the things that, over time and against all odds, have proven to be the only ground in which human rights, political stability, and economic prosperity, may flourish.

These values are not proprietary; they do not belong to one nation or one people.

Nor are they a finite resource; on the contrary, the wider they are spread, the stronger they grow.

Likewise, when they are threatened anywhere, they are threatened everywhere.

And what threatens them, or more precisely, what today threatens the societies that embrace such values and the progress they nurture?

Those who scorn modernity, who loathe the liberty of others, and who hold the differences of peoples and cultures in contempt. Those who, often begin by hating the Jews, but, history shows us, end up hating anyone who is not them. Those forces, which have threatened the state of Israel every single day of its existence, and which, today, as 9/11 graphically showed us, threaten us all.

And so, either we stand up for our values and our interests, here, in Israel, stand up for the existence of a free, democratic and distinctively Jewish state or the retreat of our values and our interests in the world will begin.

Ladies and gentlemen, just as we refuse to retreat from our values, so we must also uphold the duty to advance them.

And our commitment as Canadians to what is right, fair and just is a universal one.

It applies no less to the Palestinian people, than it does to the people of Israel.

Just as we unequivocally support Israel’s right of self-defence, so too Canada has long-supported a just and secure future for the Palestinian people.

And, I believe, we share with Israel a sincere hope that the Palestinian people and their leaders… will choose a viable, democratic, Palestinian state, committed to living peacefully alongside the Jewish state of Israel.

As you, Prime Minister [Netanyahu], have said, when Palestinians make peace with Israel, Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations — it will be the first.

Sadly, we have yet to reach that point.

But, when that day comes, and come it must, I can tell you that Israel may be the first to welcome a sovereign Palestinian state, but Canada will be right behind you.

Ladies and gentlemen, support – even firm support – doesn’t mean that allies and friends will agree on all issues all of the time.

No state is beyond legitimate questioning or criticism.

But our support does mean at least three things.

First, Canada finds it deplorable that some in the international community still question the legitimacy of the existence of the state of Israel.

Our view on Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is absolute and non-negotiable.

Second, Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a UN member-state and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty.

For this reason, Canada has spoken on numerous occasions in support of Israel’s engagement and equal treatment in multilateral fora.

And, in this regard, I should mention that we welcome Israel’s induction this month into the western, democratic group of states at the United Nations.

Third, we refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage.

Now I understand, in the world of diplomacy, with one, solitary, Jewish state and scores of others, it is all too easy “to go along to get along” and single out Israel.

But such “going along to get along,” is not a “balanced” approach, nor a “sophisticated” one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong.

Unfortunately, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where that kind of moral relativism runs rampant.

And in the garden of such moral relativism, the seeds of much more sinister notions can be easily planted.

“And so we have witnessed, in recent years, the mutation of the old disease of anti-Semitism and the emergence of a new strain.

We all know about the old anti-Semitism.

It was crude and ignorant, and it led to the horrors of the death camps.

Of course, in many dark corners, it is still with us.

But, in much of the Western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society.

People who would never say they hate and blame the Jews for their own failings or the problems of the world, instead declare their hatred of Israel and blame the only Jewish state for the problems of the Middle East.

As once Jewish businesses were boycotted, some civil-society leaders today call for a boycott of Israel.

On some campuses, intellectualized arguments against Israeli policies thinly mask the underlying realities, such as the shunning of Israeli academics and the harassment of Jewish students.

Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state.

Think about that.

Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish, as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism.

It is nothing short of sickening.

But this is the face of the new anti-Semitism.

It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make  the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation.

Of course, criticism of Israeli government policy is not in and of itself necessarily anti-Semitic.

But what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to defend itself while systematically ignoring – or excusing – the violence and oppression all around it?

What else can we call it when, Israel is routinely targeted at the United Nations, and when Israel remains the only country to be the subject of a permanent agenda item at the regular sessions of its human rights council?

Ladies and gentlemen, any assessment – any judgment – of Israel’s actions must start with this understanding:

In the sixty-five years that modern Israel has been a nation, Israelis have endured attacks and slanders beyond counting and have never known a day of true peace.

And we understand that Israelis live with this, impossible calculus:

If you act to defend yourselves, you will suffer widespread condemnation, over and over again.

But, should you fail to act, you alone will suffer the consequence of your inaction, and that consequence will be final, your destruction.

The truth, that Canada understands, is that many of the hostile forces Israel faces, are faced by all western nations.

And Israel faces them for many of the same reasons we face them.

You just happen to be a lot closer to them.

Of course, no nation is perfect.

But neither Israel’s existence nor its policies are responsible for the instability in the Middle East today.

“One must look beyond Israel’s borders to find the causes of the relentless oppression, poverty and violence in much of the region, of the heartbreaking suffering of Syrian refugees, of sectarian violence and the fears of religious minorities, especially Christians, and of the current domestic turmoil in so many states.

So what are we to do?

Most importantly, we must deal with the world as we find it.

The threats in this region are real, deeply rooted, and deadly and the forces of progress, often anaemically weak.

For too many nations, it is still easier to scapegoat Israel than to emulate your success. “It is easier to foster resentment and hatred of Israel’s democracy than it is to provide the same rights and freedoms to their own people.

I believe that a Palestinian state will come, and one thing that will make it come is when the regimes that bankroll terrorism realise that the path to peace is accommodation, not violence.

Which brings me to the government of Iran.

Late last year, the world announced a new approach to diplomacy with the government in Tehran.

Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic measure should be taken to ensure that regime never obtains a nuclear weapon.

We therefore appreciate the earnest efforts of the five permanent members of the security council and Germany.

Canada will evaluate the success of this approach not on the merits of its words, but on the implementation and verification of its promised actions.

We truly hope that it is possible to walk the Iranian government back from taking the irreversible step of manufacturing nuclear weapons.

But, for now, Canada’s own sanctions will remain fully in place.

And should our hopes not be realized, should the present agreement prove ephemeral Canada will be a strong voice for renewed sanctions.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude with this thought.

I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world.

It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society a vibrant democracy a freedom-loving country… with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary, an innovative, world-leading “start-up” nation.

You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own.

In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life.

And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.

My friends, you have been generous with your time and attention.

Once more, Laureen and I and our entire delegation thank you for your generous hospitality, and look forward to continuing our visit to your country.

Thank you for having us, and may peace be upon Israel.

Full Text Israel Political Brief January 19, 2014: Welcoming Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his Arrival to Israel

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Welcoming Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime
Minister Stephen Harper

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

“Prime Minister Harper, my good friend Stephen, welcome to Jerusalem. It’s a pleasure for Sara and me to welcome you and Laureen here to our country. It’s a pleasure for the ministers of the Israeli government and the people of Israel to welcome your ministers and your entire delegation to Israel. It’s been long in coming, this visit. We’ve spoken about it many times and we’re delighted to see you both here. I have to say, Stephen, that you are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I’m not just saying that – I mean it deeply from the bottom of my heart and I speak for all the people of
Israel.

This world is often cynical and hypocritical, and you have shown great moral leadership. When it comes to fighting terrorism, you know that there cannot be any politically correct double talk, but only unequivocal condemnation and united international action.

When it comes to anti-Semitism, you have stood up unabashedly at the side of Israel and the entire Jewish people, I think at the side of decency and fairness to everyone: Jews and non-Jews alike. And when it comes to Iran’s repeated calls for Israel’s annihilation and its unrelenting development of nuclear weapons – you and Canada have stood unflinchingly on the right side of history

And finally, when it comes to peace, you recognize that a genuine peace, a lasting peace, must be based on mutual recognition and sound security arrangements on the ground. I think in all this and in so many other things, you have shown courage, clarity and conviction. And in standing up for the truth, your voice, Stephen, has been an indispensable one. So the people of Israel and I deeply appreciate your friendship and the friendship of the people of Canada to us. And I look forward to discussing with you the many ways, so many ways, that we can deepen this friendship to the benefit of both our people and we look also forward to showing you our country. Now, I have to confide to you that it’s somewhat smaller than Canada – a little – but it has a huge heart and this heart has endless affection and sympathy and the deepest appreciation to you and to Canada, so welcome all of you to Jerusalem. Welcome to Israel.”

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

“I know I’m not supposed to speak, but let me just say a couple words to thank you for that very warm welcome, Prime Minister. Benjamin, you and Sara, Laureen and I, we are delighted to be here. I just want to give one explanation: I’m here obviously with my wife Laureen and a tremendous delegation of not just Jewish Canadians, but Canadians from across the spectrum, all of whom have been looking forward to this for some time. The only people missing, and you and I talked about this before, are my children, Ben and Rachel. That’s another visit.

We had hoped they would be able to come, but unfortunately the way the dates fell, they are now in the middle of exams in high school. Nevertheless, they were so keen that they both approached me with a proposal that I should write a note to their teachers excusing them from all of this. To which I explained to them it would not be good for me to tell their teachers that they were ill for them only to turn up on national television on a vacation. So with that unfortunate – those two missing members of the party, we’re otherwise delighted to be here. You said some important things in welcoming me and I have a few things to say tomorrow in response to that, but I think I’ll save that for my speech to Parliament. In the meantime, let me just say on behalf of all of us how delighted we are to be in Israel.”

Israel Political Brief January 19, 2014: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Israel Trip Itinerary

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Harper’s Israel Trip Itinerary

Source: Canoe.ca, 1-19-14

Harpers arrive in Israel

The Itinerary

SUNDAY JAN 19  (All times ET)

  • 0800 – Harper arrives at David Ben Gurion Airport; is greeted by Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman
  • 0900 – PM and Mrs. Harper visit the Mount of Olives
  • 1100 – PM and Mrs. Harper are officially welcomed at a ceremony at PM Netanyahu’s office.

MON JAN 20 (Jerusalem-Bethlehem-Ramallah)

  • 0205 – PM and Mrs. Harper visit the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
  • 0400 – PM and Mrs. Harper officially welcomed to the Presidential Compound, Ramallah
  • 0415 – PM Harper meets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 
  • 0515 – Joint statements by Harper and Abbas
  • 1030 – PM arrives at the Knesset and is officially welcomed.
  • 1100 – PM delivers speech to Knesset

TUE JAN 21 (Jerusalem)

  •  0100 – PM Harper meets Israel Pres Shimon Peres
  • 0230 – PM Harper meets PM Netanyahu
  • 0500 – PM Harper and PM Netanyahu make joint statement to the press
  • 0800 – PM Harper visit Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
  • 0930  – PM Harper visits the Western Wall

WED JAN 22 (Jerusalem-Hula Valley-Tel Aviv-Jordan)

  • Time TBD – PM Harper will visit a bird sanctuary to be named in his honour and will also visit Galilee and Capernaum.
  • 1120 – PM Harper receives honorary degree, participates in moderated Q&A at Tel Aviv University
  • 1330 – Travels by air from Tel Aviv to Amman, Jordan

Israel Musings January 13, 2013: World, Israeli leaders react to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s death

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After over a week of where his health rapidly deteriorated, Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (2001-2006) died at age 85 Saturday afternoon 2 p.m. Israel time on Jan. 11, 2014 eight years after entering a coma from…READ MORE

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 28, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s Statements on Iran

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Statements by PM Netanyahu and Canadian PM Stephen Harper

Source: PMO, 9-28-12

Photo by GPO

Following is a transcription of today’s statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “I want to express my pleasure at seeing Stephen Harper again. He’s proved he’s a real statesman, and Stephen, I think that what you did, severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity.

We’ve heard Iran talk about destroying Israel, even now, here at this current round of the UN General Assembly, and the fact that you took such clear, decisive steps is a great example to be followed by other nations, many of which attended a conference in Tehran and said nothing.

I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world, as you just told me, and that is to translate the agreement and principle of stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons to practice. In practice, that means setting red lines on their enrichment process. It’s their only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.

I think that if such red lines are set, I believe that Iran will back off, and I think this message is percolated [unclear] a lot of debate and also considerable discussions between the United States and us, And I also hope to take some minutes to discuss it with you as a great champion of freedom, and a great friend of Israel.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “Thank you, Prime Minister. It’s always wonderful to see you again and I look forward to discussing these very critical issues, obviously, our bi-lateral issues but some of these global issues. I spoke last night, certainly our country has not been shy about warning the world about the danger that the Iranian regime ultimately presents to all of us. As you know we want to see a peaceful resolution of all this and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.

I look forward to discussing that with you, and our shared values.

[French]

I look forward once again, great to see you and I look forward to our discussions.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “Je suis d’accord…”

Israel Political Brief September 14, 2012: Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Rosh Hashanah Statement

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STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA
ON ROSH HASHANAH

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on Rosh Hashanah:

“This weekend marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and the Jewish New Year, signifying the time for a new beginning.“Rosh Hashanah is one of the most sacred days of the Jewish calendar. It is the first of the High Holy Days, a 10-day period of repentance in which the Jewish people around the world reflect on their faith, re-examine the past year and look to the year ahead.

“The Jewish community has greatly enriched our country, and this holy day presents an opportunity to acknowledge their invaluable contributions to all aspects of Canada’s society.

“To all those celebrating Rosh Hashanah, Laureen and I extend our warmest wishes for a healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

“L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu.”

Israel Political Brief September 12, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Speaks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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PM Netanyahu Speaks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Source: PMO, 9-12-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and thanked him for his decision to expel Iranian diplomats from his country and to withdraw Canada’s representatives from Iran. “Your decision constitutes an example of leadership and morality. It is an example of the correct message that the international community needs to send to Iran,” the Prime Minister said

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 9, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Cabinet Meeting & Rosh Hashanah Greetings

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 9-9-12

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting today:

“First of all, a Happy Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year] to you all. There is an apple and honey here. Let us offer to our friends from the media to take part in this beautiful custom.

I would like to congratulate Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a daring and moral step and showing leadership on Friday, and thereby sending a principled and important message to the entire world, that the dark regime cannot have nuclear weapons. I call on the entire international community, or at least on its responsible members, to follow in Canada’s determined path and set Iran moral and practical red lines, lines that will stop its race to achieve nuclear weapons.

Today, the Cabinet will discuss the issue of turning the Ariel University Center into a university. I reiterate that Ariel is an inseparable part of the State of Israel and it will remain an inseparable part of the State of Israel in any future agreement just like the other settlement blocs. Approving the university in Ariel is one of a series of actions that we are taking in order to strengthen higher education in the State of Israel.  I do not think that it is sufficient that the State of Israel has seven universities; another university has not been added in decades. The population of Israel has doubled, even tripled. There is a strong desire on the part of young people in Israel to receive a university education, and I do not accept the approach of keeping a closed guild. I love to break monopolies and cartels in every field, and this one of them. If anyone has any doubt about whether or not I have a clear position on this issue, I would like to express it here. It is important that there be an additional university in Israel; it is important that there be a university in Ariel.

Last night I spoke with Noam Gershony who won a gold medal at the Paralympics. Noam encapsulates the image of the State of Israel and its story. He represents the victory of the spirit over all obstacles and I think that his personal story strongly expresses this. Noam was wounded in battle for the State of Israel. Yesterday he won a medal, a gold medal, on behalf of the State of Israel. He did not see this as just his own personal achievement, he saw it as a personal achievement for all of us, and he moved all of us when he wept to the national anthem. On behalf of the Government and the citizens of Israel, I salute you Noam Gershony.

This is the last Cabinet meeting of the outgoing year and this is the fourth time that The Cabinet is marking the start of a new year – this being an unusual event in and of itself over past decades. It broadcasts government stability, which is very important for the State of Israel at all times, but especially now. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the outgoing year was full of activity and this is my opportunity to thank the ministers for their great work on behalf of the people of the State of Israel.

We did many things together and if I were to now detail the Government’s actions, those which it carried out and those which it approved, I would need many hours. Therefore, I have chosen to point out one event per [Hebrew] month in order to note the progress of the State of Israel over the past year.

And so, in Tishrei, the Cabinet approved the agreement to bring Gilad Shalit back home after over five years in captivity.

In Cheshvan, we dedicated the new medical school in Safed, after 37 years in which no new medical school had been dedicated in Israel.  We thereby marked a turning point, not only in medicine, but in jumpstarting the Galilee and Safed. By the way, Israel is ranked sixth in the world on the Global Health Index, which was issued recently.

In Kislev, we approved the comprehensive plan to deal with infiltrators, the results of which are already being seen in the field.

In Tevet, tax benefits – that we approved – took effect for working parents and young children – representing a net addition of hundreds of shekels per month to salaries.

In Shevat, we approved the construction of a rail line to Eilat as part of the Government’s plan to invest billions of shekels in infrastructures, highways, railways and interchanges.

In Adar, I traveled to the AIPAC conference in the US to continue explaining and emphasizing the dangers posed to the world by Iran’s arming itself with nuclear weapons. Since then, all of our predictions have come true, one after the other.

In Nisan, the Bank of Israel determined that the Israeli economy grew by 4.7% in the previous year, an impressive achievement given the global economic crisis. I see the difficulties that are yet before us, but I think that if we continue to manage the economy in a responsible manner, we will continue to be above the other economies. By the way, in the same month, Israelis were ranked fourth on the global happiness index.

In Iyar, thanks to the reform we approved, new operators entered the cellular telephone market and prices of cellular calls nosedived, leading to a savings of hundreds of shekels a month for each family.

In Sivan, we expanded free dental care to include children up to age 12. As of the present, over two million free dental treatments have been given to children. This is a very significant achievement.

In Tammuz, we launched an international campaign on Israeli innovations in protecting the environment.  This was mainly abroad; it wasn’t seen so much in Israel.  But via this campaign we showed the world our breakthrough technologies in the field of environmental protection.

In Av, we completed the construction of over 200 kilometers of the southern security fence and we brought about a 90% decline in the number of infiltrators crossing the border. Soon we will complete the fence in its entirety.

And in [the current month of] Elul, we opened the school year in grand fashion – free education for children from age 3, a savings of NIS 800 per month for hundreds of thousands of parents.

I have not pointed out all of the things that the Government has done, but I think the things I have mentioned reflect the scope of a great achievement. This was a year in which we strengthened the security of the citizens of Israel in the face of the regional unrest around us and in which we kept our economy safe from the collapses that characterized other economies, and I am certain, and I promise, that in the coming year we will continue to achieve results for the citizens of the State of Israel.

Again, a Happy Rosh Hashanah to you all.

May it be a sweet year, a year of achievements, a good year.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 7, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Statement on Canada’s Decision to Expel the Iranian Ambassador and Close its Embassy in Tehran

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

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PM Netanyahu’s Statement on Canada’s Decision to Expel the Iranian Ambassador and Close its Embassy in Tehran

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Source: PMO, 9-7-12

Following is a statement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued late yesterday afternoon (Friday, 7 September 2012):

“I would like to commend Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for taking a step that showed leadership and daring and which sends a clear message to Iran and the entire world. One week after the display of anti-Semitism and hatred in Tehran, the government of Canada is taking a moral step of the highest order. Canada’s determination is very important in order for the Iranians to understand that they cannot continue their race after nuclear weapons. This practical measure needs to serve as an example of international responsibility for the global community. It is important that the international community join in this pressure by setting Iran clear red lines.”

Israel Political Brief May 17, 2012: Ronald S. Lauder: Canada Should Play Larger Role in Mideast Negotiations

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Jewish Leader: Canada Should Play Larger Role in Mideast

The head of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, said that Canada should play a larger role in Middle East negotiations.
Canadian PM Stephen Harper

Canadian PM Stephen Harper
Reuters

The head of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, said that Canada should play a larger role in Middle East negotiations.

Lauder met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird in Ottawa on Wednesday to discuss the situation in the Middle East, as well as the increasing threat of worldwide anti-Semitism.

The Jewish leader asserted that with the new coalition government in Israel, it may be possible to restart negotiations “I believe that in the coming months, Canada can play a role and I think will be invited to play a role,” Lauder said in an interview with the Canadian Press.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres visited Canada this spring to express support for the strong pro-Israel policies of the Harper government. “Canada’s long-standing position on a negotiated, two-state solution has not changed,” a spokesman for Baird said.

“Our government always stands ready to work in a constructive way to help solve international disputes,” the spokesman added.

In a recent interview Baird asserted that, “Canada is not going to be an honest broker between an international terrorist organization and a liberal democracy, when the great struggle of our generation is the struggle between liberal democracies and international terrorist organizations.”

“Today it is a very dangerous world out there, there are very few true leaders out there,” Lauder told the Canadian Press.

Lauder continued to state that Prime Minister Harper is “a true leader” who speaks his mind.

Israel Political Brief May 7, 2012: President Shimon Peres Praises Israeli-Canadian Relations in Ottawa

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Peres Touts Israeli-Canadian Relations in Ottawa

President Shimon Peres praised Canada’s long friendship with Israel as he conducts a series of working meetings with leaders there.

Source: Israel National News, 5-7-12

Shimon Peres Reviews the Honor Guard
Shimon Peres Reviews the Honor Guard

מארק ניימן\לע”מ

Canadian Governor-General David Johnston welcomed President Shimon Peres to Canada on Monday.

The two men followed protocol by reviewing the ceremonial honor guard that greeted Peres with a 21 gun salute and issuing joint statements, before holding a working meeting.

“I thank you for your invitation to visit your special country,” Peres said, speaking in French. “I carry with me Jerusalem’s deep gratitude to Ottawa for the enduring friendship that you showed us as close kin in the family of nations.”

Later, Peres said, “I visited Canada for the first time 60 years ago in search of a means to defend our country, and for friendship, and to open the doors of peace. I found these here, in Canada.”

“Ever since, I have carried in my heart the feeling that Canada is land which is friendly, supporting, and caring towards Israel. I have never felt Canada is indifferent,” he explained.

Peres added, “A visit to Canada is an opportunity to strengthen a very special relationship. Relations between countries are important and promising, as well as our commitment to ensure we live in days of peace, prosperity and growth.”

As Governor-General in Canada, Johnston fills a role as Ottawa’s federal vice regal representative of Canada’s monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

His role is similar to that performed by Peres in Israel, but he also executes the constitutional duties of monarch in Canada, which remains a part of the British Commonwealth.

Johnston was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Queen Elizabeth II’s consent.

Later, Peres is expected to hold a private working meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Afterward, he will attend an official lunch in honor of his visit with government ministers at the Canadian Parliament.

He is expected to discuss political issues including recent developments in the Iranian nuclear program, changes in the Middle East, and political relations between Israel and its neighbors.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has been highly supportive of Israel in the international arena.

Israel Political Brief May 6, 2012: President Shimon Peres Canadian Visit, Ottawa, Toronto & Montreal — Iran Top Issue with Pro-Israel Government

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Peres Flies to Canada; Iran Top Issue

Peres flies to Canada for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders. The Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.
Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres
Israel news photo: Flash 90

President Shimon Peres is flying to Canada Sunday for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders, with the Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.

Canada is considered one of Israel’s best friends, and Ottawa has been solidly behind the Netanyahu government  even when the Obama administration has been at odds with Israel.

President Peres will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition leader Thomas Muclair to discuss recent developments in Iran’s nuclear development as well as what the President’s office described “changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.”

He will “express gratitude to the Canadian leadership for its stance alongside Israel,” a spokesperson added.

Peres is expected to promote economic and scientific cooperation between Israel and Canada and attend the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities in the field of science and technology.

Jewish communities in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal will host the President, highlighted by an  Independence Day reception.

President Peres will deliver a speech to the Jewish community in Toronto Wednesday evening, after meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton James Patrick McGuinty during the day.

The Montreal Jewish community will host him at  a synagogue Thursday morning before he concludes his trip with a meeting with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.  Israel has been the victim of frequent anti-Israel protests in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province.

Most of the province’s Jews live in Montreal, and the Jewish population in Quebec has fallen from a peak of approximately 120,000 in 1971 to less than 93,000 today, according to the Canadian Jewish Federation.

Israel Political Brief April 26, 2012: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Message to Israel on Independence Day — Yom Haazmaut

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Harper Extends Independence Well Wishes to Israel

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper extended Israel his nation’s well-wishes as the Jewish state turns 64
Netanyahu and Harper in Ottaw

Netanyahu and Harper in Ottawa
Reuters
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper on Thursday published a statement wishing Israel well during its 64th Independence Day celebrations.
“On this special day, I would like to extend warm wishes to those celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut in Canada, in Israel and around the world,” Harper wrote.
“On this anniversary, we remember all that Israel and its citizens overcame to achieve statehood and we celebrate all that it has accomplished in the past six decades.
“As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu during his visit to Canada last month, our Government recognizes it is an especially challenging time in the Middle East.
“Israel can rest assured that we will uphold its right to exist as an independent Jewish state as we continue in our efforts to promote peace and security in the region.
“Once again, Happy Independence Day!”

Israel Political Brief April 5, 2012: Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Passover Statement

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Passover

Source: Can PM, 4-5-12
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the beginning of Passover:

“I would like to send my best wishes to those in Canada and around the world who will be celebrating Passover tomorrow. This holiday – which commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt – reminds us of the value of freedom and perseverance, and the importance of family, tradition and faith.

“Tomorrow evening, as families and friends gather for the traditional Seder meal to recognize this important holiday, it is also an opportunity to think of those who are still struggling and fighting for their freedom around the world.

“Laureen and I join in wishing you a peaceful and joyous Passover.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 7, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on Return to Israel from Canada & US Trip

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Return to Israel from Canada and the US:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned a short while ago today from his visit to Canada, where he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the US, where he met with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense US and members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Upon landing, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I return from a very important visit to the US and Canada. I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends. We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”

Video: PM Netanyahu’s Remarks upon his Return to Israel from Canada and the US

Netanyahu says Israel’s friends will stand by her

Source: JTA, 3-7-12

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has “many courageous friends.”

In remarks after landing in Israel following a visit to Canada and the United States, Netanyahu said, “I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends.”

“We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their own fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”

On his North American visit, Netanyahu met with President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

At his meeting with Obama on Monday, Netanyahu reportedly gave the U.S. leader a copy of the book of Esther. The leaders’ talks reportedly centered on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Full Text Israel Political Brief March 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speeches & Videos of Canada/US Trip — AIPAC Speech, President Obama White House Meeting & Press Conference with PM Stephen Harper

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu’s visit to Canada and the USA – March 2012

Source: PMO, 3-2-6-12

Document presented by PM Netanyahu at his AIPAC speech in Washington
PM Netanyahu writing his speech at the guest house in Ottawa, Canada
Meeting of PM Netanyahu With Canadian PM Stephen Harper in Ottawa, Canada
Meeting of PM Netanyahu with secretary of state Hillary Clinton
PM Netanyahu’s Speech at AIPAC Policy Conference 2012
PM Netanyahu and His Wife Sara on Their Way to Canada
PM Netanyahu with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
PM Netanyahu speaking to the Jewish community in Canada
Meeting of PM Netanyahu With Governor David Johnston in Ottawa, Canada
PM Netanyahu is welcomed at the airport in Washington DC by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren
Meeting of PM Netanyahu with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC

 

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