Peres praises Canada during official visit


TORONTO (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres on a state visit to Canada praised the country and its prime minister as "an extraordinary friend."

"Your remarks about Israel are outstanding. It really moved [the] hearts of our people," Peres told the staunchly pro-Israel Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa on Monday.

In an earlier meeting with Canada’s governor-general, David Johnston, Peres lauded Canada as a nation that "offers a new beginning, building bridges and closing gaps. Israel, which is a start-up nation, breathes your air with real thirst."

The 89-year-old Peres is on a five-day state visit to Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal, where he is addressing Jewish community rallies and meeting political leaders.

On Tuesday, Peres and Johnston presided over the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Royal Society of Canada and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Peres recalled his first visit to Canada 60 years ago and "the deep friendship that has existed between our peoples from our first day of independence. Since then I carry in my heart the feeling that Canada is a continent of friendliness, displaying support and care."

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