The Canadian province of Quebec plans to open a representative office to Israel in Tel Aviv in the fall, the province's government announced on Thursday.
The office, to be located within the Canadian embassy, will be Quebec's first in the Middle East and 35th total.
Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie Martine Biron announced on Thursday that the office is meant to strengthen relations between Israel and Quebec in the fields of research and innovation.
"Israel's dynamic economy offers business opportunities," Biron tweeted. "This office will bring economic spinoffs and showcase Quebec's expertise in sectors of the future."
Biron also noted that there are over 500,000 French speakers in Israel.
Israeli Consul-General Paul Hirschson said that he was "thrilled to receive Quebec's official Diplomatic Note confirming the establishment of this Bureau...With a presence in Israel, Quebec can better present itself in one of the world's most exciting technology hubs and leverage Quebec's own significant attractions to grow additional joint ventures.
"On behalf of the people and the State of Israel, I want to take the opportunity to thank and applaud the government of Quebec both for this decision, to further upgrade our engagement and for the friendship and partnership over many years," Hirschson stated.
Trade between Quebec and Israel is close to $400 million per annum. The governments signed cooperation agreements in 2007 and 2017, which included cooperation in industrial research and technological innovation. In 2017, Philippe Couillard was the first premier of Quebec to visit Israel.
Likud MK Dan Illouz, who was born in Montreal, welcomed the step to foster stronger bilateral ties.
"In previous meetings with Quebec officials we discussed this possibility and I am glad to see the talks bearing fruit," Illouz stated. "This move could provide opportunities for increased cooperation in areas of mutual interest such as trade, culture, and technology and I look forward to seeing what is to come."
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs vice president Eta Yudin commended Quebec for its decision.
“As Quebec’s first mission in the Middle East, the selection of Israel is a testament to the Abraham Accords’ success in ushering in a new regional trade and economic reality," Yudin stated. "We are confident the Bureau, as a valuable resource for partnerships, will bolster existing links and generate significant opportunities for international collaboration. As a strong international francophone voice, Quebec will bolster the vitality of the French-speaking world by building ties between Quebec and Israel’s francophone community.”