Binyamin Netanyahu, Justin Trudeau
Binyamin Netanyahu, Justin Trudeau Israel GPO

In honor of Israeli Independence Day on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his congratulations to the modern Jewish state on 68 years since its establishment.

Canada is "proud" to call Israel "a close partner and a firm ally," wrote Trudeau, adding that the two states "share common democratic values."

Trudeau expressed his hopes for a continued strengthening of the "firm friendship" between Israel and Canada. He noted that Israel remains under the threat of terror, anti-Semitism and religious intolerance.

"Canada will continue to stand to the right of Israel and continue to advance peace and stability in the region," emphasized Trudeau of Canada's Liberal party.

The Canadian prime minister's comments come after he said in a town hall in early March that "Israel is a friend...but, at the same time...we won't hesitate from talking about unhelpful steps like the continued illegal settlements. We will point that out. We will continue to engage in a forthright and open way because that's what people expect of Canada."

While promising to stand with Israel and criticizing UN "demonization" of Israel, he called for "the two-state solution of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state alongside a peaceful, democratic Israel," and then defended his decision to lift some sanctions against Iran and start restoring diplomatic relations with the leading state sponsor of terror.

Since taking office last November, Trudeau has faced some criticism over his government's Middle East policies.

In February he was grilled in parliament for proposing to give UNRWA $15 million despite its well-documented ties to the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, and largely ignored the question on the topic.

In more questionable behavior vis-a-vis Hamas, Trudeau appointed Omar Alghabra as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Alghabra was previously the head of the radical Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), which ran afoul of the state for its open support of Hamas.