MONTREAL (Nov. 11)
For the first time ever, the representative body of Canadian Jewry has met with the ambassador of Jordan.
On Thursday, a Canadian Jewish Congress delegation, headed by its national president, Irving Abella, traveled to Ottawa to meet with Jordanian ambassador Hani Khalifeh.
Later, the group met with Moroccan Ambassador Tajeddine Baddou.
The meetings are part of the flurry of get-togethers between Arabs and Jews that has followed the Sept. 13 accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The meeting with the Jordanian envoy, which was requested by the CJC during talks between Israeli and Jordanian negotiators, “couldn’t have gone better,” Abella said.
“The ambassador was very pleased with events and called it ‘the beginning of the beginning’ of open communications between our respective communities,” Abella said.
He also stressed that there were no fundamental differences between Israeli and Jordanian positions in the negotiations between the two countries, “only those pertaining to things like water rights.”
Abella said Khalifeh was so optimistic about a peace settlement between Israel and Jordan that he promised he would open his home to a reception for Jewish leaders when it happens.
Abella described the Jordanian envoy as “very knowledgeable about our community.”
Abella said the ambassador had promised to try to arrange a trip to Jordan for him to coincide with a planned CJC meeting to be held next month in Israel.
Other members of the CJC delegation who met with the Jordanian ambassador were the group’s national executive chairman, Charles Zalona; its national legal affairs committee chairman, Moshe Ronen; national director of communications and Israel affairs, Mike Cohen; and director of legislative analysis, Eric Vernon.
The Canadian Jewish Congress is not the first organized Canadian Jewish communal organization to meet with the Jordanians. B’nai Brith Canada met with King Hussein in Calgary, Alberta, when the monarch visited Canada in October 1989.