Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced the appointment of a new ambassador to Israel: Vivian Bercovici, an attorney at Dickinson Wright LLP and a former senior policy adviser to former Ontario Finance Minister Ernie Eves.

Canada, in recent years, is considered Israel’s best friend, and Harper will be making his first visit to the Jewish state later this month. Canadian Israelis have expressed pride in their home country and are hoping to demonstrate appreciation to the Canadian leader during his visit.

Bercovici’s appointment will bolster Canada’s stance as a fervent ally of Israel, pundits say.

Bercovici studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a year in the early 1980s and has penned a monthly column for the Toronto Star on Israel and the Middle East.

She has commented on Palestinian leaders for their “intransigence” and “ideological commitment” to Israel’s destruction.

Her law career has spanned more than two decades and has included specializations in aboriginal affairs, regulatory matters and media issues.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, “She is a lawyer with 24 years of experience. She’s smart and capable and will be able to represent this government well,” according to Canada’s CBC News.

Baird defended the decision to go outside the ranks of the Foreign Service to appoint Bercovici, noting that past Liberal and Conservative governments have appointed non-diplomatic envoys to Israel.

“I think it won’t be a huge shock to anyone that Canada is a strong supporter of the state of Israel,” said Baird in announcing the appointment. “We have been a strong supporter of the only liberal democracy in the region.”

Bercovici, who appeared alongside Baird, reiterated that Israel “has no greater friend in the world than Canada.”

“I know that this government’s principled stance on various fronts is warmly welcomed and appreciated by both the Israeli government and the Israeli people,” she stated.

“Canada supports Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. Canada stands firm in the international fight against anti-Semitism, including raising the awareness of the Holocaust. And Canada recognizes the importance of building inclusive and stable societies underpinned by democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.”

Bercovici is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto and has served on the boards of Radio-Canada and the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

The appointment comes at a critical time for the Jewish state, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been leading peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Canada “stands ready” to support the process but ultimately, “the deal has to be reached by the two parties themselves,” Baird said.

“We’re delighted with the appointment of Ambassador Bercovici. She will bring our bilateral relationship to a new level that is entirely consistent with the government’s already strong pro-Israel position. We think she will do great things,” Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the main body of Canadian Jewish organizations, told

By Shoshana Kesner, contributor, United with Israel