President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin yesterday, 1 April / 25 Adar II, was guest of honor a state luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. Following this, the president laid a wreath at the Holocaust memorial in Ottawa, accompanied by the prime minister.
During the luncheon, the president said to the prime minister: “I want to thank you not only for your friendship, but for your moral leadership. The mark of a true leader is his willingness to take a clear moral stand. Your moral stance against anti-Semitism in all its forms, the strong support for Israel in the UN, the annual UNGA resolution on the human rights situation in Iran are just some examples of your moral leadership.”
The president added, “unfortunately, we live in a time where moral leadership is not always valued. The UN Human Rights Council has been taken over by human rights violators, and many countries prioritize their economic ties with radical regimes like Iran, instead of speaking up against tyranny and terror. In the face of these challenges, we must not surrender. We must join forces, and change the world for the better. I deeply believe that Israel and Canada can work together with other like-minded countries, to build a new global alliance based on moral leadership and responsibility.”
Prime Minister Trudeau thanked President Rivlin for his remarks, and said “we work together to combat hatred and anti-Semitism around the world, including through the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and the international campaign against anti-Semitism. Our government will continue to speak out in the strongest possible terms against BDS and Israeli Apartheid Week, which hold Israel to completely different standards to any other country in the world. Now, it is up to us, Mr President,” said the prime minister, adding “we must continue the proud tradition of our predecessors as we write the next chapter of our friendship and cooperation. I have no doubt that our relations will only strengthen, and our peoples will become even closer.”
In the evening, the Governor General hosted a state dinner in honor of President Rivlin. At the beginning of the evening the two national anthems were played and the president and governor general made brief remarks.
In his remarks
the president commented on the situation in the south of Israel, saying “this is a sensitive time for the State of Israel. For years, our citizens in the south have lived with missiles from Gaza. Sleeping in bomb shelters, night after night for years, is a reality that is hard to grasp. In the last few weeks, this has become a reality for even more Israelis. Just last week a rocket fired from Gaza hit a house in the center of Israel and wounded seven people, including a six-month old baby. These rockets are fired by Hamas, a ruthless and cruel terrorist organization. Israel will do whatever needed to protect the security of its citizens. But in our uncompromising fight against terror, we will never compromise on our legal and moral standards.”
The president added
“the people of Gaza are not our enemy. We have no war with Islam. We seek peace for our country and we seek peace with our neighbors. Peace requires trust, and there is little trust between Israel and the Palestinians right now. It will not happen overnight and it will not happen through outside coercion, one-sided resolutions or boycotts. But we are ready to do what we can to start.”
At the end of his remarks, President Rivlin said “Canada has been a true friend to Israel since our founding over seventy years ago. Time and time again, you have spoken out against anti-Israel initiatives at the UN, and worked side by side with Israel to fight anti-Semitism and discrimination. Thank you.”
Governor General Julie Payette: “People might think that there are many differences between Israel and Canada, but I actually think we have a lot in common. By cherishing peace, innovation and love, we can strengthen the deep connection between our peoples. This evening, we celebrate diversity, tolerance for the other and appreciation for those from different cultures. There is so much that we have in common; much more than what makes us different.”
Attached photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)