Canada Commemorates 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations with Israel

(No. 127 - May 11, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement commemorating 60 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Israel:

"Today, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Israel. This is a milestone that reflects the breadth and depth of the links between two democratic allies. Canada values its long-standing relationship with Israel, which is based on shared values, common interests and strong political, economic, cultural and social ties. I was pleased to visit Israel earlier this year to launch the year-long celebration of this momentous occasion.

"Our relationship has strengthened in recent years, as evidenced by increased cooperation in several areas, including public security, defence, trade and investment, and an increase in political-level contact.

"One of the underlying strengths of the Canada-Israel relationship is the extensive network of informal links between our two countries. There are some 20,000 Canadian citizens living in Israel, and many Canadians have family there. The Canadian Jewish community is 350,000 strong and acts as an important bridge between Canada and Israel. These strong ties give rise to significant cooperation between our two countries in business, education, culture, philanthropy and tourism.

"To commemorate this important milestone, 2009 will bear witness to a number of diplomatic, cultural and academic events in Canada and Israel. For example, the Israeli Embassy recently organized an Israeli-Canadian literature evening at the Ottawa International Writers Festival. In the month of May, there will be musical performances at the International Pavilion, as part of the annual Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.

"As we reflect on the past 60 years, we see the emergence and growth of a permanent bond between the two nations. As we consider the next 60 years and beyond, we see endless possibilities for Canada and Israel. We look forward to continued growth in our strong partnership with Israel."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874