Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in Israel and will address the Knesset on Monday. This is Harper's first visit to Israel.
In welcoming Harper, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that while this world is “often cynical and hypocritical, you have shown great moral leadership. When it comes to fighting terrorism, you know that there cannot be any politically correct double talk, but only unequivocal condemnation and united international action.
“When it comes to anti-Semitism, you have stood up unabashedly at the side of Israel and the entire Jewish people, I think at the side of decency and fairness to everyone: Jews and non-Jews alike. And when it comes to Iran's repeated calls for Israel's annihilation and its unrelenting development of nuclear weapons – you and Canada have stood unflinchingly on the right side of history
“And finally, when it comes to peace, you recognize that a genuine peace, a lasting peace, must be based on mutual recognition and sound security arrangements on the ground. I think in all this and in so many other things, you have shown courage, clarity and conviction. And in standing up for the truth, your voice, Stephen, has been an indispensable one. So the people of Israel and I deeply appreciate your friendship and the friendship of the people of Canada to us.”
Prime Minister Harper said that he is accompanied by his wife Laureen and “a tremendous delegation of not just Jewish Canadians, but Canadians from across the spectrum, all of whom have been looking forward to this for some time.”
The only people missing, he noted, are his children, Ben and Rachel, who had wanted to come, but had to stay in Canda because they are now in the middle of exams in high school. “Nevertheless,” he added on a light note, “they were so keen that they both approached me with a proposal that I should write a note to their teachers excusing them from all of this. To which I explained to them it would not be good for me to tell their teachers that they were ill for them only to turn up on national television on a vacation.”
“You said some important things in welcoming me and I have a few things to say tomorrow in response to that,” he added, “but I think I'll save that for my speech to Parliament.”