At a highly sensitive moment in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I’m pleased to note that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper — the most pro-Israel leader in the world at the moment — is set to make his “first-ever visit” to Israel on January 19,” reports Haaretz.
The Israeli paper reports that Harper “will be staying in the region for four days, during which he will also visit the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.”
“I look forward to visiting the Middle East early next year to explore ways of strengthening peace and security, stimulating sustainable economic growth, and promoting essential Canadian values, such as tolerance and human rights, across the region,” the Canadian premier said in a speech to a Jewish group last month.
Harper further noted that “Canada will continue to support Israel in the United Nations and in every other international forum,” reported Haaretz. “The head of the pro-Israel lobby in Canada, David Koschitzky, welcomed Harper’s announcement. He said that relations between the two countries are excellent, but there is always room for improvement – especially when it comes to trade relations. Netanyahu considers Harper one of the leaders closest to him – both personally and politically. Netanyahu has visited Canada three times in the past five years and he speaks to Harper on the phone very frequently.”
Let’s be praying that the visit goes well, that Harper’s relationship with Netanyahu, Abbas and King Abdullah will be strengthened, and that the Canadian leader will be a source of wisdom, moral support, and encouragement to each of them.
Last June, I had the honor of spending several days in Ottawa, Canada, with several colleagues. We met with nearly two dozen Members of Parliament (including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the President the Senate, various members of the government, and members of the opposition party, the NDP) to discuss the crises facing Israel, Iran & Syria.
First and foremost, I thanked the members of the ruling party (the Conservatives) for their strong support of Harper and for being part of the most pro-Israel government on the planet. Canada is pursuing a principled and profoundly moral position with vigor, integrity and consistency.
Second, I noted how important it would be if Harper made a state visit to Israel to show his solidarity with the Jewish State. On the same trip, he could meet with Palestinian leaders, and visit King Abdullah II in Jordan who needs to be encouraged as a man of peace and strengthened against Radicals trying to bring him down and impose a Islamist regime in Amman.
Surely others were encouraging the PM and his team along the same lines, and I’m very encouraged to see the trip will come to pass this month.