Canada - Israel Friendship

On November 29, 1947 Canada was one of 33 nations to support United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, the plan to partition Palestine into separate states, one Arab and one Jewish. With Canada’s de jure recognition of Israel on May 11, 1949, a dynamic and enriching relationship began. Israel established a consulate general in Montreal in 1949. In 1953, embassies were opened in Ottawa and Tel Aviv.

Already in the mid-nineteenth century, Canadians pilgrims and tourists visited the Holy Land and representatives of the Jewish communities in the Land of Israel turned to their brethren in Canada. Through the next 100 years these connections grew to include migration, settlement, exploration, education, investment, trade, philanthropy, missionary work, and military action. Trade relations that go back more than a century when wines and Jaffa oranges reached Canadian markets, evolved into the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) of 1998 and an expanding bilateral movement of goods which surpassed the billion dollar mark in 2004 and reached $1.8 billion in 2008.

Canada and Israel have strong, multidimensional bilateral relations, marked by close political, economic, social and cultural ties. Support for Israel, especially its right to live in peace and security with its neighbours, has been at the core of Canada's Middle East policy since 1948. The relationship has been strengthened in recent years as evidenced by increased cooperation in several areas, including public security, defence, trade and investment, and the increased frequency of ministerial visits. Canada and Israel marked 60 years of diplomatic relations on May 11, 2009. On this occasion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated: “At the heart of relations between Canada and Israel is the dynamism of our shared communities. We look forward to the next 60 years and beyond.”

One of the underlying strengths of the Canada-Israel bilateral relationship lies in the extensive people-to-people ties. There are approximately 20,000 Canadian citizens living in Israel and many Canadians have family in Israel. The Canadian Jewish community, which stands at around 350,000, acts as an important bridge between Canada and Israel. These informal ties give rise to significant cooperation between our two countries in business, philanthropy and tourism. Frequent ministerial visits in both directions are a feature of Canada-Israel relations.

There is a strong relationship between the Canadian and Israeli legal communities, which has resulted in regular visits by jurists and judges, as well as frequent use of Canadian legal precedents in Israeli court decisions. Canada and Israel have an active program of professional and academic exchanges, with many Canadian artists visiting Israel. A cultural and education Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 1999.

Canada and Israel have a number of bilateral agreements in place, including one on Film and Videotape Production and on Mutual Legal Assistance. There are also a number of sub-national agreements between Israel and certain provinces, including Manitoba and Ontario.

Various bilateral agreements support Canada’s commercial relations with Israel. These include the Double Taxation Agreement (1977), the Canadian Space Agency - Israeli Space Agency MOU for Space Cooperation (March 2005), and the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF).

The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) is a binational organization established in 1994 that promotes industrial collaborative research and development projects in innovative technologies that have the potential for commercialization. It provides partnership facilitation services as well as the opportunity of potential funding support for joint industrial R&D collaborations. It has also developed close linkages between a large number of technology-based firms in Canada and Israel and encourages the participation of the academic and government research communities. The experience gained and the successes achieved under CIIRDF provided a useful model for DFAIT's International Science and Technology Partnerships Program (ISTPP).

Canada’s top exports to Israel are machinery, electrical machinery, paper and newsprint, plastics, wood, and aluminium. Canada’s top imports from Israel are pharmaceutical products, electrical machinery, precious stones and metals, machinery, optical equipment, and organic chemicals.

Export Development Canada (EDC) offers all of its products and services (insurance, financing and bonding) in Israel.

The stamp was issued in 2010 to mark 60 years of friendship between the two countries. Designer: Karen Hendrick of the Toronto-based firm, q30 design.

I'm dedicating the addition of this stamp to the SOH collection to Canada's new ambassador to Israel, Vivian Bercovici – a great supporter of Israel and a family friend for many years [Tzvi].