Photo Credit: Mark Neyman / GPO
President Reuven Rivlin and Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson meet in Jerusalem.

President Reuven Rivlin was brimming with praise for Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Douglas Nicholson in a joint news conference on his first visit to Israel, calling him “a dear friend of Israel.” Rivlin said “we listen to your comments with respect, even when we disagree.

“I know that the Canadian government follows closely what is happening in our region, in particular in Iran and in Syria, it is a complicated situation in which your enemies’ enemy is not always your friend.


“Sadly, Mahmoud Abbas has chosen not to sit at the negotiating table but instead is turning to international institutions to take unilateral steps against Israel,” Rivlin continued. The president was referencing the recent pressure on Israel to find a way to somehow facilitate the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian country within the current borders of the Jewish state, despite Palestinian violation of every requirement of the Oslo Accords to which they agreed more than a decade ago.

“We know that the only way to bring a solution to the conflict and to build mutual trust is through direct negotiations and not by one-sided, unilateral measures,” Rivlin went on. The reference notes the Palestinian evasion of its obligations to negotiate a final status agreement through direct talks with Israel via its application for membership at the United Nations, requesting recognition as a sovereign nation. The ploy succeeded in gaining non-member observer state status for the entity — just a step below full recognition as an independent, sovereign country — and allowed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to gain membership in hundreds of global agencies and treaties, causing endless complications and difficulties for Israel on the international front.

The Canadian leader thanked the president and commented that he has “taken an interest in Israel since I was a child and always wanted the chance to visit.

“I am honored to have this opportunity,” he continued, “representing my country as foreign minister.

“Israel is a beacon of light, hope, a source of democracy and an example to the whole world, and I am proud of Canada’s steadfast and consistent support for Israel.

“Even though we are far from here, we understand the challenges facing the region and they are on everybody’s doorstep. We are not ones to stand on the sidelines and hope for the best, but want to be part of the solutions to the challenges that we face in the world.”

Part of his visit, said Nicholson, is to demonstrate that commitment and to show that the strong relationship between Israel and Canada will continue into the future.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.