Begin Receives Tumultuous Welcome Upon Arrival in Canada

Premier Menachem Begin plunged into a busy round of official meetings and ceremonies here today after a tumultuous welcome at the airport last night that observers said was the most enthusiastic ever extended a Jewish dignitary visiting Canada. Begin, accompanied by his wife, Aliza, arrived at Uplands Airport at 6:20 p.m. aboard a special Air Canada jet put at his disposal by the Canadian government.

He was greeted on the military airfield by Premier Pierre Elliott Trudeau and members of the government and local leaders while some 2000 Jewish adults and school children, nearly two-thirds of this city’s Jewish population, shouted greetings, sang and waved Israeli and Canadian flags in a nearby hangar. The hangar was jammed because of rain and as Begin and Trudeau entered they were met by cries of “Shalom” and “God bless you.”

The kilted Cameron Highlanders Band played “Scotland The Brave” as the two leaders approached. And then the bagpipers broke into stirring renditions of “Hatikva” and the Canadian anthem, “Oh Canada,” as Begin and Trudeau stood at attention.

The crowd broke through the barriers and Begin and Trudeau mingled with them, shaking hands and kissing children. Cantor Nachum Deutsch, of Machzikei Hadas Synagogue and some 50 youngsters from its Hebrew school sang “Oseh Shalom” (let there be peace) and other songs in Hebrew. Begin, in a jubilant mood, joined in the singing.

Afterwards, Begin and his party were whisked through streets lined with Israeli and Canadian flags to the Prime Minister’s residence for a working dinner with Trudeau. It was learned that one of the subjects discussed was the possibility of Canada increasing its contribution of troops to the United Nations peace-keeping forces in Sinai after an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty is signed and Israel begins its withdrawal from that territory.

The Begins are staying at Government House which is located in the heart of the capital between Trudeau’s residence and the Governor General’s residence. The Israeli Premier had a working luncheon today with Trudeau and Governor General Jules Leger.

This afternoon, he attended a session of the Canadian parliament where he was officially recognized by Trudeau and opposition leader Joe Clark to resounding applause. Later this afternoon, he received Canadian Jewish leaders at the Chateau Laurier Hotel. This evening, Begin will give a banquet in honor of Trudeau and the Canadian government.

NEXT STORY