(photo credit: ap)
When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visits Canada at the end of the month he will be the first sitting prime minister to visit the country since Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.
Netanyahu, along with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, are expected to visit Toronto and Ottawa at the end of the month, flying to Canada from an OECD meeting in Paris where it is expected that Israel will officially be accepted as a member of that organization.
The rare trip to Canada by the prime minister is seen as a sign of appreciation for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s staunch support for Israel, both on a declarative political level, and through the deepening and broadening of bilateral relations in various spheres, including military, intelligence and economic ones.
David M. Weinberg, director of the Canada-Israel Committee’s Israel
Office, said the planned visit “is a reflection of the extraordinarily
strong ties between Canada and Israel on a range of political issues
and bilateral matters. It is also an acknowledgement of Prime Minister
Harper’s principled leadership and friendship for Israel.”
Harper, who became prime minister in 2006, was supportive of Israel
during that year’s Second Lebanon War, as well as during Operation Cast
Lead in Gaza in 2009.
In a related development, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced
on Wednesday that he will leave on Sunday for a five-day official visit
Lieberman is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio
Hatoyama, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and other senior officials to
discuss both bilateral and regional issues.