OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make history in Israel next week when he becomes the first Canadian leader to address the Israeli legislature as he kicks off his inaugural visit to the Middle Eastern nation.
The Knesset speaker, Yuli Edelstein, has said he’s happy and proud to welcome Harper to the Knesset, calling him a “brave and true friend of Israel.”
“Canada’s governmental and public support for Israel has been unwavering and encouraging throughout our history,” Edelstein said as he announced Harper’s upcoming speech to parliament. “I have no doubt that this important visit is a celebration of fraternity for the two countries and I believe that it will further strengthen the ties between them.”
No Canadian prime minister has ever before addressed the Knesset.
Details emerging about Harper’s trip suggest, not surprisingly, that it will be a mutual love-in between the prime minister and the Israelis. The Conservative government has been a staunch defender of Israel since Harper came to power eight years ago.
“the unswerving support of Canada for the state of Israel, its security and integrity.”
Harper will undoubtedly do much the same in the days to come — during both his visit to Israel’s parliament, and throughout his four-day foray to the country before he travels to Jordan and the West Bank.