Seven decades ago, the nascent State of Israel had its fair share of difficulties.
The country possessed little natural or financial resources, public services were limited, housing and employment were scarce, and the very existence of Israel was in jeopardy.
Through it all, Israel persevered; and we not only survived, but we thrived.
Today, Israel’s story has unfolded into an inspiring tale of resilience and ingenuity, of innovation and hope.
When I think of my country, its people, and its achievements, I am inspired. I am inspired by Israeli innovation and technologies in water management such as drip irrigation and desalination. Both of which, among other practices, have helped Israel achieve water security in a region plagued by water scarcity.
Working to ensure that others have the same, Israel is sharing its cutting-edge technological know-how with the world. From installing solar-powered water pumps in villages in Senegal, to bringing the first ever Israeli-designed mobile water purification system to the Marshall Islands, Israeli tech is delivering life-changing solutions to millions of people around the world.
I am inspired by MASHAV, Israel’s international development and aid agency, that since it was founded by then-foreign minister Golda Meir has provided training and support to nearly 300,000 people from some 140 countries. Through its work with individuals and communities on agriculture, health care, education, gender equality, and women empowerment, MASHAV is enabling so many across the developing world to improve their lives, and is reflective of Israel’s commitment to helping the disadvantaged.
This philosophy of assisting those in need speaks to the very core of Judaism and the value of tikkun olam that reverberates throughout the Jewish state in both our words and deeds.
I am inspired by everyday Israelis, who despite decades of conflict and terror have continued to lead happy and full lives. In fact, according to the UN’s 2018 World Happiness Report, Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world.
And I am inspired by Israel’s improved relations with countries around the world. From Guatemala to Ethiopia, India to the Gulf States, world leaders now view Israel as a strong partner in a variety of fields.
Earlier this year, in a historic first, a flight from India travelled over Saudi airspace en route to Israel – an act that was previously denied by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The improving relations with Gulf States underscore that peace and friendly relations between the Jewish State and the Arab world are feasible. Like the peace deals secured with both Egypt and Jordan, Israeli leaders have, and will continue to pursue a just and lasting peace with all our neighbours, including the Palestinians.
Together, Canada and Israel are working towards achieving a more prosperous, sustainable and inventive future for generations to come.
From joint international development projects to our mutual commitment to gender equality and empowering women and girls around the world, the cooperation between our two countries spans various fields and is reflective of the strong ties that bind our multi-partisan friendship, rooted in shared values, and buttressed by strong Jewish communities such as this one.
Israel and Israelis are deeply grateful for your tremendous support.
May the State of Israel, its friends, and Jewish communities here in Canada and around the world continue to move from strength to strength; and, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, be a “Light unto the Nations.”