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      Peres Flies to Canada; Iran Top Issue

      Peres flies to Canada for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders. The Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 5/6/2012, 3:11 PM

      Shimon Peres
      Shimon Peres
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      President Shimon Peres is flying to Canada Sunday for a five-day visit with the pro-Israel government and Jewish leaders, with the Iranian nuclear threat tops the agenda.

      Canada is considered one of Israel’s best friends, and Ottawa has been solidly behind the Netanyahu government  even when the Obama administration has been at odds with Israel.

      President Peres will meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Opposition leader Thomas Muclair to discuss recent developments in Iran’s nuclear development as well as what the President’s office described “changes in the Middle East and relations between Israel and its neighbors.”

      He will “express gratitude to the Canadian leadership for its stance alongside Israel,” a spokesperson added.

      Peres is expected to promote economic and scientific cooperation between Israel and Canada and attend the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities in the field of science and technology. 

      Jewish communities in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal will host the President, highlighted by an  Independence Day reception.   

      President Peres will deliver a speech to the Jewish community in Toronto Wednesday evening, after meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton James Patrick McGuinty during the day.

      The Montreal Jewish community will host him at  a synagogue Thursday morning before he concludes his trip with a meeting with Quebec Premier Jean Charest.  Israel has been the victim of frequent anti-Israel protests in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province.

      Most of the province’s Jews live in Montreal, and the Jewish population in Quebec has fallen from a peak of approximately 120,000 in 1971 to less than 93,000 today, according to the Canadian Jewish Federation.