Canada and Her New(er) Best Friend
Israel Is Forever: Special feature to the Calling Out Community, Posted June 30, 2015. Updated November 12, 2015.
As we approach Canada Day 2015 tomorrow, I think it is very fitting that we take a moment to review who our real friends are in the world today – and as we do, one nation stands out with a very close, productive and mutually beneficial relationship that she and Canada enjoy, fostered with considerable care and attention over the last decade of the Harper Conservative government. That nation… is Israel.
If you thought I was going to say “the United States”, you’d be dead wrong. The last 8 years of the Obama administration took care of that friendship – at times like sisters, today we are more like roommates that would love to find somewhere else to live, if it were possible to break our lease and relocate on short notice. You know the type – that roommate that leaves us to clean up their messes, is loud and brash at the worst possible times, embarrassing us in most social occasions, and when she doesn’t pay her bills on time, we are negatively affected as well.
Tomorrow, Canadians from the Pacific to the Atlantic to the Arctic Oceans celebrate the 148th Birthday of our homeland –
Canada Day (July 1) – with a national statutory holiday mid-week! In the midst of all the barbecuing, sunshine, firework displays, face painting, flags and parades, we at 1MII wanted to share some of the unique stories, events and people that have made Canada and Israel such close friends today:
- According to a May 11, 2015 Jewish Press article, Canadian Prime Stephen Harper is
“unarguably the most pro-Israel head of any government in the world“. Wow, now that is actually something we can be proud of.
- Israel, as I’m sure you are aware, is under attack from every side by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, started and fostered by the Palestinian government Hamas. Israel is the ONLY country in the world facing this misguided attempt to harm the Israeli economy and force them to better treatment for Palestinians – yet it’s the Palestinians themselves who have been suffering as their evonomy is almost solely connected to that of Israel. Canada, recognizing that this BDS movement is anti-Semitic In nature and is a direct attack on Israel’s right to exist, had been working tirelessly to update our Canada-Israel Free trade agreement to cement our ties with Israel.
- According to the 2013 World Jewish Population Report, Canada has the 4th largest Jewish population in the world, numbering over 378,000. Only Israel, the United States and France are larger
The Jewish population of the city of Toronto, Ontario (185,000) alone would be Israel’s 5th largest city if located there – and is in the top 15 largest Jewish populations in the world by city.
- Over 250 Canadians immigrated to Israel in 2012 – the 6th largest group in the world, ranked by country of origin. Nearly 20,000 Canadian citizens currently live in Israel
- One of the more interesting agreements signed between Israel and Canada was the March 2005 Canadian Space Agency – Israeli Space Agency MOU for Space Cooperation to “seek to develop advanced applications in satellite communications and position both the Canadian and Israeli space sector to play a significant role in this growing global market.”
Only in Canada: At the November 7, 2013 farewell dinner for Stephen Mandel, popular Jewish Mayor of Edmonton, Alberta (2004-2014), the keynote speaker was Naheed Kurban Nenshi, popular Muslim Mayor of Calgary, Alberta (2010-present). In the hilarious, deeply personal and touching farewell address, the Muslim mayor called his Jewish counterpart and friend “my political rival, but a great leader and a great mentor to me…and an incredible leader of this amazing and incredible city”. Religion does not always have to divide.
- Canada was one of the 33 countries that voted in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel – despite heavy pressure from Great Britain on Commonwealth countries to abstain from voting
- The capital city of Canada, Ottawa, has been officially a sister city to the largest metropolitan area in Israel, Tel Aviv (where 42% of Israeli’s live) since 2010. Other Israeli cities with Canadian sister cities include: Beersheba (Montreal, QC and Winnipeg, MB), Eilat (Toronto, ON), Petah Tikva (Laval, QC), and Ramla (Vaughn, ON)
- Because of Canada’s immense size, it’s population density of 3.7 people/sq.km ranks it 230 out 244 countries. Israel is the 24th densest nation on earth with over 380 people/sq.km. – 100 times more dense than Canada.
- Canada’s number 1 import from Israel: pharmaceuticals. So one could say (tongue in cheek) that a strong relationship with Israel is actually good for our health!
- Canada signed a free trade agreement with Israel in 1997. Since then, trade (in Canadian dollars) between the two countries has tripled. Again, one could state without opposition that a stronger relationship with Israel is good for our wallets too!