Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Avi Ohayon/ Flash90) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Avi Ohayon/ Flash90)
Vivian Bercovici

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to visit Israel in January and address the Knesset. This is his first visit to Israel.

Harper will arrive on January 20th. He will also meet with Jordanian and Palestinian Authority officials during his four-day visit, accompanied by a delegation of 200 Canadian journalists and PR officers.

Earlier this month, Harper spoke at the annual Jewish National Fund-Toronto gala, rousing the audience with his vow that “Israel will always have Canada.”

The Canadian leader will deliver a speech to Israel’s parliament, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein announced Wednesday.

“I am pleased and proud to host the Prime Minister of Canada, a brave and true friend of Israel at the Knesset,” Edelstein stated. “I have no doubt that the visit is important for the celebration of the brotherhood of both countries and I believe it will strengthen the relationship between us.”

Harper has stood behind Israel more than any other world leader in the past several years, backing it during a number of crises, including the Second Lebanon War, the counter-terrorist operations in Gaza and the Mavi Marmara flotilla that was manned by Turkish NGO terrorists in 2010.

“In the world of diplomacy, we know how easy it is to drift away from Israel, Harper told the recent Jewish National Fund dinner in Canada, where he first announced his forthcoming trip. “We understand that the future of our country and of our shared civilization depends on the survival and thriving of that free and democratic homeland of the Jewish people in the Middle East.”

David Koschitzky, chairman of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, welcomed Harper’s announcement “as an important indicator of the dynamic relationship that exists between two great countries, which has grown and strengthened under the prime minister’s leadership.”

“This visit will provide Israelis with an opportunity to thank the prime minister for his steadfast friendship and support over many years,” Koschitzky said.

According to reports in New York-based semi-monthly National Review, Harper said that it is hard to overstate the importance of the State of Israel continuing to live in security and peace.

“Israel will always have Canada as a friend,” he added, citing the importance of Israel to him and his caucus colleagues. “As long as we are there, Canada will hold firm.”

Author: United with Israel Staff
Date: Dec. 25, 2013