Canadian governor-general confirms commitment to two-state solution

Johnston is the first Canadian governor-general to come to Israel

November 3, 2016 04:38
2 minute read.
Canadian Governor-General David Johnston

PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN speaks with Canadian Governor-General David Johnston at a joint press conference in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARK NEYMAN / GPO)


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Canadian Governor-General David Johnston, who arrived in Israel on Tuesday with his wife, Sharon, told President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday that he would like to “reaffirm Canada’s commitment to work with Israelis, Palestinians and other partners to uphold the prospects of a two-state solution and achieve a just and lasting peace.”

Johnston is primarily in Israel to receive an honorary doctorate from the Technion for his contributions to the Canada- Israel innovation relationship.

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This is his fourth visit to Israel but his first in his current role.

He is also the first Canadian governor-general to come to Israel, and planted an olive tree as a symbol of peace in the Grove of Nations.

Prior to his arrival in Israel, Johnston spent several days in Jordan, and is also expected to tour the West Bank.

Rivlin emphasized the significance of Johnston’s visit, seeing it as part of the growing cooperation between the two countries in areas of trade, academia, culture, technology, medicine and more.

Rivlin also referred to Johnston’s visit to Jordan and spoke of how Israelis and Jordanians are working together on projects in Jordan Valley, near the Jordan River and holy sites near the Jordanian border.

This was but one example of growing ties between Israel and its neighbors, he said.

With regard to Johnston’s upcoming visit to “our neighbors the Palestinians,” Rivlin voiced his belief that an end can be found to the conflict “which is a tragedy with which we have been living for more than a hundred years,” but insisted there must be an end to the incitement and an end to terrorism.

Johnston said he and his delegation were in Israel “to strengthen the already robust relationship between our two countries.”

He recalled that late president Shimon Peres had come on a presidential visit to Canada in 2012 and said that “Canadians were saddened at the loss of such a great statesman.”

Johnston, who later in the day laid wreaths on the tombs of Peres and Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl, said that he was honored to have met Peres in Canada as well as on an earlier trip to Israel.

“Since his visit, I’ve been hoping to have this chance to reciprocate the sentiments that he conveyed in Canada,” said Johnston. During this visit, he added, he wanted to find ways to spark innovation and further collaboration between people, educational institutions and businesses.

“In a world of instant, digital communication, faceto- face visits like this are so important,” he stressed, noting that the Canada-Israel relationship is grounded in people-to-people ties in economic, cultural, scientific, political and strategic dimensions.

Johnston later visited Yad Vashem, and during the day met with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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