Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed a pro-Israel crowd Sunday at the United Jewish Appeal's annual Walk for Israel in Toronto. “Thank you for standing up for truth... Thank you for standing up for Israel,” he told his audience.
Netanyahu noted that 32 years had passed since an Israeli prime minister visited Toronto. “Now everyone knows what they've been missing,” he joked.
"The ties between Israel and Canada have never been stronger,” he continued. “I want to take this opportunity to thank Prime Minister Harper. Prime Minister Harper has been an unwavering friend of Israel.” Harper has stood up to efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, he added.
Netanyahu then praised the crowd of several thousand. “Year after year, you show us that we are not alone. Even though we are thousands of miles away, we know that you stand by our side” he said.
The prime minister mentioned Israel's negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. “Israel must ensure that peace is anchored in security. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said.
"When Israel left Lebanon, Iran moved in. When Israel left Gaza, Iran moved in again... We cannot afford a third Iranian presence in the hills overlooking Tel Aviv,” he explained. A PA state would need to be demilitarized, and to recognize Israel as the Jewish state, he added.
He also spoke of the importance of maintaining Israel's right to self-defense, and of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Following the speech Netanyahu and his family proceeded to Ottawa, where he will meet Monday with Harper.