President Reuven Rivlin on Monday laid a wreath at the Holocaust memorial in Ottawa, accompanied by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and in the evening was the guest of honor at a state dinner hosted by Canada’s Governor General the Right Honorable Julie Payette.
President Rivlin said at the state dinner that “Israel will do whatever needed to protect the security of its citizens. 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.”
The Governor General said: “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.”
Earlier, President Rivlin was guest of honor at a state luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Trudeau. 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.”