Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper becomes the first Canadian leader to address the Israeli parliament - the Knesset - during his first visit to Israel.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of Prime Minister Harper
Report by Israel National News - Israel and Canada are “natural allies,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday. Addressing the Knesset, Harper told MKs that Canada would stand with Israel no matter what, “in fire and water."
On his second day in Israel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to MKs. The bonds between the two countries, said Harper, were “very strong. Our friendship has its roots in history, and is nourished by our shared values,” as well as the trade and between the countries. In addition, he said, Israel and Canada were close military allies, with Israeli-made equipment and technology saving the lives of many Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, where they are stationed as part of the international peacekeeping force.
“In order to understand the depth of the ties” between the two countries, Harper said, one simply has to look at the respective societies. Jews have lived in Canada for over 250 years, and the 350,000 Jews in Canada are proud of their own country, and of Israel's accomplishments, as he and his wife Laureen were, he said.
“We understand that supporting Israel is the right thing to do,” said Harper. After generations of persecution the Jews were finally able to live in their own state, and Canada supported Israel because of the rightness of its cause – which, he said was “a very Canadian thing to do,” without expecting anything in return, and it was something Canada was proud to do for Israel. "History proves that those who started out hating Jews in the end hated everyone who was not like them," he added.
Harper, the first Canadian leader to address Israel's parliament, is a "great friend of Israel," said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier. Welcoming Harper to Israel earlier Monday, Netanyahu said that while the world is “often cynical and hypocritical, 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.
Read more -http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/176510#.Ut1tiyQWKM8
TEXT OF PM HARPER'S SPEECH AT THE ISRAELI PARLIAMENT
VIDEO OF PM HARPER'S SPEECH
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A new strain of anti-Semitism in the Western world is behind sharp criticisms of Israel, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has told the country’s legislators.
In the first-ever speech by a Canadian prime minister to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, Mr. Harper delivered a case for the “moral imperative” and “strategic importance” of backing Israel as it faces real threats.
“In much of the Western world, the old hatred has been translated into more sophisticated language for use in polite society,” Mr. Harper said. “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.”
While the Prime Minister said it’s legitimate to criticize Israel’s government, he insisted there is something more sinister in those who single out Israel for the problems of the Middle East. “Most disgracefully of all, some openly call Israel an apartheid state,” he said, according to a draft copy of his speech. “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.”
He argued that Western nations must support a threatened democracy in Israel not only out of a “moral imperative” but out of “strategic importance” – that the same threats are aimed at all Western democracies, only Israel is closer.