Canadian Jews welcome Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - On behalf of Canadian Jewry and the broader pro-Israel community in Canada, Moshe Ronen, National Chair of the Canada-Israel Committee, welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to Canada.

"The depth of the Canada-Israel relationship is remarkable and continues to demonstrate great vitality as it expands across the many and varied economic, cultural and academic sectors to the benefit of both countries", said Mr Ronen.

The bilateral relationship will be front and centre during Prime Minister Netanyahu's official visit to Canada, the first since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's two visits in 1994.

The Canada-Israel relationship has fostered strong economic ties, bearing impressive results through expanded trade and the joint commercialization of high-tech innovation in both countries. $1.4 billion in revenue has already been generated by Canada-Israel private sector partners benefitting from the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF), and the overall trade relationship has tripled since the signing of a free trade agreement in 1996.

"There is tremendous potential for exponential growth, well beyond what we have already experienced", commented Ronen.

On the international level, Iran will command significant attention on the visit's agenda.

"Iran represents the most pressing threat to global security today. The international community cannot allow itself to be distracted from addressing the threat Iran represents, not just to Israel or to regional stability - but in a very real sense to Canada and Canadians both at home and abroad. The danger posed by the Iranian regime is exacerbated, of course, by the risk that it will achieve nuclear weapons capability", commented Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Canada-Israel Committee.

The CIC calls on Canada to help advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. "Prime Minister Harper's principled stand strengthens Canada's voice in regional developments. Canada should draw upon its enhanced influence in the Middle East and reiterate its long-standing position that the only way to achieve peace in the Middle East is through direct negotiations between the Jewish State and the Palestinians. Initiatives like 'proximity talks' and confidence building measures are valuable solely as conduits toward resuming direct negotiations in accordance with the Quartet-sponsored Road Map for Peace", added Mr. Fogel.

"The friendship demonstrated by Canada towards Israel - internationally at the UN and its agencies, and at home - is well worth celebrating and building upon. Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Canada is the perfect occasion to do so, and demonstrates the appreciation of the people of Israel for Canada's support during difficult times," concluded Mr. Ronen.

SOURCE Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)

For further information: For further information: Shimon Fogel, CEO, (613) 762-3657

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