Canadian Prime Minister to Announce First Trip to Israel
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce his his first trip to Israel at the Jewish National Fund's (JNF) annual dinner tomorrow (Sunday) in Toronto, according to Shalom Toronto.
Harper, who has been Prime Minister since being elected for the first of his two terms in 2006, has been a staunch supporter of Israel, a stance which found its expression shortly after his election, when he stood by the Jewish state during the Second Lebanon War against Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
Since then he has taken a consistently sympathetic line towards Israel; from the 2009 Cast Lead counterterrorism operation in Gaza, to attempts by the Palestinian Authority to isolate Israel diplomatially at the United Nations, and his uncompromising stance on the Iranian nuclear program. The Canadian premier has repeatedly voiced his support for Israel "as a Jewish state" and his solidarity with it in its war against terrorism.
The JNF dinner is being held in his honor, reflecting the warm ties between the two countries in recent years.
Domestically, Harper's Conservative government has also taken a tough line against anti-Semitism, and the prime minister has described Islamic extremism as the greatest threat to Canadia security.
Harper has also voiced skepticism over the course of the so-called "Arab Spring", as Islamist elements throughout the Middle East and North Africa have sought to capitalize on the ongoing unrest.