Garneau holds talks with Israeli leaders; Canada triples contribution to joint Israeli R&D fund

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau meets Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem, July 4, 2021.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau has concluded a visit to Israel, a statement from his office said on July 4.

Garneau met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid, and Innovation, Science and Technology Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen. He also spoke with President-elect Isaac Herzog.

Garneau “highlighted the long history of cooperation between Canada and Israel and underscored Canada’s commitment to continue strengthening the bilateral relationship and advance shared priorities through trade; collaboration on science, technology, innovation and education; combating anti-Semitism; and preserving Holocaust remembrance,” the statement said.

He announced that Canada will triple its annual contribution to the Canada-Israel Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation in Industrial Research and Development to $3 million per year.

In his meeting with Farkash-Hacohen, both ministers agreed to launch negotiations to modernize and expand the scope of the agreement and to establish a new mechanism to lead and promote their R&D collaboration, as well as expand scientific collaboration between Canadian and Israeli researchers.

Garneau announced that Canada will be providing $700,000 to “Siach Shalom” (Talking Peace), a project that supports and facilitates Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, and increases the inclusion of religious communities and women in peacebuilding.

The minister also visited the Hand in Hand Center for Jewish-Arab Education school in Jerusalem, part of a network of Jewish-Arab integrated bilingual schools.

Finally, Garneau and Irwin Cotler, Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Anti-Semitism, visited Yad Vashem, where the minister took part in a wreath-laying ceremony.

Garneau reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to advancing Holocaust education, remembrance and research, to combat anti-Semitism, and protect human rights, at home and abroad, said the statement from Global Affairs.

“To this effect, Garneau and his Israeli counterpart agreed to continue to partner, with Jewish communities and other international partners, to combat anti-Semitism worldwide.”

Later this summer, Canada will host an emergency National Summit on Anti-Semitism, led by Cotler.

Garneau “encouraged steps to stabilize the current fragile ceasefire and expressed Canada’s concerns over the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” his office noted.

He “reaffirmed Canada’s support for Israel’s right to live in peace with its neighbours within secure boundaries, and expressed full support for Israel’s right to defend itself, consistent with international law,” his department said, adding that he restated Canada’s long-standing position that “continued expansion of settlements, (and) demolitions and evictions constitute a serious obstacle to achieving peace and called on Israel to cease such activities.” Garneau reiterated Canada’s “strong commitment to playing a constructive role toward a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East underpinned by a two-state solution that allows the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live side-by-side in peace and security.”

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