PM Netanyahu: This world is often cynical and hypocritical, and you have shown great moral leadership. You have shown courage, clarity and conviction. And in standing up for the truth, your voice has been an indispensable one.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
It’s been long in coming, this visit. We’ve spoken about it many times and we’re delighted to see you both here. I have to say, Stephen, that you are a great friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I’m not just saying that – I mean it deeply from the bottom of my heart and I speak for all the people of Israel.
So the people of Israel and I deeply appreciate your friendship and the friendship of the people of Canada to us. And I look forward to discussing with you the many ways, so many ways, that we can deepen this friendship to the benefit of both our people and we look also forward to showing you our country. Now, I have to confide to you that it’s somewhat smaller than Canada – a little – but it has a huge heart and this heart has endless affection and sympathy and the deepest appreciation to you and to Canada, so welcome all of you to Jerusalem. Welcome to Israel."
"I know I’m not supposed to speak, but let me just say a couple words to thank you for that very warm welcome, Prime Minister. Benjamin, Laureen and I are delighted to be here. I just want to give one explanation: I’m here obviously with my wife Laureen and a tremendous delegation of not just Jewish Canadians, but Canadians from across the spectrum, all of whom have been looking forward to this for some time.
The only people missing, and you and I talked about this before, are my children, Ben and Rachel. That’s another visit. We had hoped they would be able to come, but unfortunately the way the dates fell, they are now in the middle of exams in high school. Nevertheless, they were so keen that they both approached me with a proposal that I should write a note to their teachers excusing them from all of this. To which I explained to them it would not be good for me to tell their teachers that they were ill for them only to turn up on national television on a vacation. So with that unfortunate – those two missing members of the party, we’re otherwise delighted to be here.
You said some important things in welcoming me and I have a few things to say tomorrow in response to that, but I think I’ll save that for my speech to Parliament. In the meantime, let me just say on behalf of all of us how delighted we are to be in Israel."