Israel gives warm welcome to Canada’s Harper

The Middle East in 2014

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28 Feb 2014
Israel gives warm welcome to Canada’s Harper

Israeli officials rolled out the red carpet recently for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen J. Harper, one of the most stalwart allies of Israel today. Indeed, it is difficult to think of another prominent world leader in recent decades who has been so consistent and principled in his backing of the Jewish state. Thus the Israeli people received Harper with open arms and he reciprocated with more words of encouragement and admiration for their nation.

Harper is a conservative Christian leader who was making his very first visit to Israel. He was accompanied by a large 250-member Canadian delegation consisting of senior government officials, top businessmen, as well as Jewish and Christian leaders – including ICEJ-Canada national director Donna Holbrook.

Harper’s official itinerary included memorable moments at Yad Vashem, at a state dinner held in his honour, and at a bird watching observatory named for Harper in the Hula Valley in northern Galilee. But the highlight was his speech before the Knesset, where he told the nation’s lawmakers that Canada would stand behind them through “fire and water”.

“Canada and Israel are the greatest of friends, and the most natural of allies”, Harper assured. “The friendship between us is rooted in history, [and] nourished by shared values...”

“[I]t 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”, he continued.

“It is a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular”, added Harper, who explained that his country’s support for Israel means 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...”

“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...”

“Third, we refuse to single out Israel for criticism on the international stage... [I]n 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... is not a balanced approach, nor a sophisticated one; it is, quite simply, weak and wrong.”

Harper also deplored the new anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Israelism, saying it “attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable for a new generation”.

“You are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Harper as he welcomed him to Jerusalem. “I am speaking for all of the people of Israel. This world is often cynical and hypocritical, and you have shown great moral leadership...”

For Christians as well who stand with Israel, it is encouraging to know that there is an elected world leader right now who truly shares our biblical faith and worldview.



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