Being in the Knesset and listening to Prime Minster
Harper speak was unbelievable. It was one of the most amazing experiences
that I have ever had and his speech was one to the best I have heard. I
was so proud of being a Canadian Jew.
Harper began by talking about how close Israel and Canada are and how proud
Canada is of her Jewish citizens. He said that Canadians are proud of
what the people of Israel have accomplished and that our countries are historic
and logical allies.
Most important, he said, is “Canada supports Israel because it is right to do
so.” Israel has every right to its nationhood and every right to join its
allies on the world stage. It is the only nation in the Middle East that
shares our democratic ideas of freedom, human rights, political stability and
rule of law.
While a few Arab members of the Knesset exited the room, Harper criticized
those who accused Israel of practicing a new brand of apartheid vis-a-vis the
Palestinians. Those accusations are a new and insidious form of
anti-Semitism. It represents twisted logic and outright malice.
Harper also acknowledged that Palestine has a right to exist and that both
Israel and Canada are committed to a “just and secure” future for the
Palestinian people. He said that, while, as Netanyahu has said, Israel
will be the first nation to welcome a Palestinian nation to the United Nations,
Canada will be right behind them. He backed that up with an announcement of
$60 million in aid for the Palestinians.
The Prime Minister concluded his remarks with a reference to the Rosh Hashanah
prayers – “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.” He
praised the nation of Israel and all of its accomplishments, values and
optimism, saying that the story of Israel is a great example for the world. I
felt that Prime Minister Harper’s speech and Canada’s support of Israel are
also great examples for the world.
Just a little note on some of the other events that we attended:
Before the Knesset, we went to an air force base where they have a
“cube”. It is full of high tech machines and computers.
They track incoming missiles and assess their threat. All defense missile
launches happen from there. We also saw where they test all the defense
Today, we went for a private tour of Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust
Research. Prime Minister Harper and Prime Minister Netanyahu were both
there, and there was a special ceremony where Harper laid a Canadian
wreath. We then all went by police motorcade to the Western Wall.
We were in a heavily guarded cordoned off area. Harper left a note and
said a blessing. I even got to shake his hand.
Tonight, we attended a dinner with the two Prime Ministers. Netanyahu
spoke beautifully. They had a 60′s band that played and they invited
Harper on stage. He played the keyboard and sang, “Sweet
Caroline” and “Hey Jude”. Unreal! Afterwards, Netanyahu
said he wasn’t sure what he liked better, Stephen’s speech or his
This whole trip has been an amazing experience!!! I am very, very proud
to be representing Robbins Hebrew Academy and honoured that we were invited to
be part of this delegation. We were able to witness, as the whole world
watched, Canada’s continued commitment to our beloved nation of Israel.