TORONTO — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, wants to talk with Toronto’s Jewish community.
On Sunday, May 30, one day before his working visit to Ottawa, Netanyahu plans to speak to thousands of Toronto Jews and supporters of Israel to kick off the city’s annual Walk With Israel celebration.
The walk, run by the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, commences at 10 a.m. at the Direct Energy Centre, on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, and ends at the energy centre.
Speaking to The CJN last week, Mark Regev, spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, said Netanyahu anticipated a “good, productive” trip to Canada.
He said Netanyahu and the entire Israeli delegation were all “very much looking forward to this visit and to our meetings with the leadership in Canada, specifically with Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper, who is a friend of Israel. And, of course, we’re looking forward to meeting the Jewish community.”
This is the first working trip by an Israeli prime minister to Canada in 16 years. Yitzhak Rabin was the last premier of the Jewish state to visit this country, in 1994.
“It’s been too long since we’ve had an official visit,” Regev added. “We are glad that we’re now able to rectify that situation.”
The idea to address the Toronto community and participate in the walk originated with Netanyahu himself, according to Amir Gissin, Israel’s consul general to Toronto and Western Canada.
A planned address by Netanyahu to the Toronto community “was in discussion ever since the visit became known, but many issues had to be addressed before approval was given. It should be noted that participating was his personal request,” Gissin said.