Ralph Goodale (centre front), Canada’s Minister of Public Safety recently visited Israel. Here he is with our Embassy staff in Tel Aviv. The Embassy’s Facebook page is a great source of information for anyone interested in knowing what Canadians are visiting (and doing business with) Israel. Read more…
Canada has two diplomatic missions in Israel/Palestine – a full embassy in Tel Aviv and a smaller “office” in Ramallah (since Canada does not recognize Palestine as a state, our mission there is not called an embassy.)
The Canadian Embassy in Tel Aviv, and its approximately 30 staff members, are led by Ambassador Deborah Lyon, a career diplomat whose previous posting was as Ambassador to Afghanistan.
Under Lyon’s direction, the Embassy produces a very active Facebook page with regular updates on trade, cultural, political and personal links between Canada and Israel. If you are interested in knowing who is visiting Israel, or what companies are doing business there, the FB page is a valuable source.
Recent posts on the FB page show for example:
- Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale met with Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at Israel Police National Headquarters in Jerusalem to discuss Israel’s advanced counter-terrorism techniques. [Note: This building is located in East Jerusalem, which Canadian law calls “occupied” Palestinian Territory. Recall the outrage when John Baird met Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in East Jerusalem in 2013.
- Goodale was accompanied by Irwin Cotler and Liberal MP Michael Levitt. He also planted and watered a tree in the Aminadav forest near Jerusalem as part of a ceremony held in his honor by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Goodale was probably not told that the JNF’s Aminadav Forest has been developed over top of the destroyed remains of al-Wajala, a village from which Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in October 1948.
Posts also show many private Canadian links to Israel
- Chantal Bowen of Youth Media Alliance based in Montreal, participated in the Tel Aviv International Children’s Film Festival as a jury member. She also spoke with Israeli producers — working to further Canada-Israel cooperation in this field. She was a guest of the film festival.
- The Canadian Lacrosse Association has announced it will be represented in Israel at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championship in July.
- Air Transat VP Gilles Ringwald announced Air Transat’s new Montreal-Tel Aviv direct flight. “70% of the passengers on the line to Israel were Canadians, mainly from the Jewish community, and the rest Israelis”, he said.
(None of these organizations appear concerned by the ongoing campaign to boycott Israel called BDS.)
And philanthropy too…
- Canadian billionaire Marcel Adams (a 97 year old holocaust survivor) has given $1 million in scholarship funding to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Of course a lot of the interaction between Canada and Israel never makes it into the Embassy FB pages. But even a quick review gives a glimpse of the extent and depth of the economic, political, academic and cultural links between Canada and Israel. The FB page has over 26,000 “likes”.
Israel’s Palestinian citizens not completely forgotten..
The Embassy’s FB page did also show a little sign of concern for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who constitute 20% of the Israeli population. It reported for example that Ambassador Lyons hosted a briefing by Israeli human rights organizations Gisha and Yesh Din on Gaza access policy and West Bank settlements. The event was attended by more than 30 participants from the diplomatic community in Israel. “Canada believes that a vibrant civil society is an integral part of all democracies,” noted the Ambassador.
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