The Friendship Between Canada and Israel
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
On Canada Day, Canadians typically spend the day in backyards and parks, gathered with friends and strangers in the common goal of celebrating the land they live in. I pray that this holiday helps remind all Canadians that they still are one nation, under God.
Canada Day is a time to remember the principles of life and the pursuit of happiness upon which Canada was built. This quest for religious liberty also brings to mind a Canadian ally, Israel. For millennia, Jews around the world have been subject to religious oppression and hateful anti-Semitism. And, though Jews have contributed richly to the culture and community of nations around the world for centuries, it was only when they found their way back to their biblical homeland that they truly were able to live free of that oppression, and with the autonomy and self-determination that are the right of any free people.
Because I've been blessed to call both Canada and Israel home, on Canada Day I cannot help but reflect on the unique and enduring relationship between Canada and Israel.
Canada and Israel are dependable friends. That friendship, it is true, has been strained and tested at times. But it has never broken. This is because both nations are built upon principles of democracy, individual freedom, faith, and the rule of law. These shared values create broad areas of agreement on key principles, meaning that Israel and Canada more often than not stand united on important issues.
Israel still very much needs our friendship. She is surrounded by nations that repeatedly and publicly call for her destruction, is continually subject to attacks, and receives harsh and unwarranted criticism in the media and by world powers. And Canada needs Israel as well. And we have no greater ally than Israel, because our alliance is not just strategic. It is based on, in the words of columnist Jeff Jacoby, a “kinship of common values” that transcends politics.
This Canada Day, let us remember those who have made our country great. And, as we look up once again at the fireworks displays in the heavens, may we also lift our prayers of gratitude to God for the blessings of living in a free nation, and for the long and enduring friendship between Canada and Israel.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
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