Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee

Honourable senators, today marks the sixtieth anniversary of the foundation of the State of Israel.

The following paragraph is taken from the editorial which appeared in the New York Post the day following the foundation of the state:

First recognition of Israel as a de facto State has come from the United States of America. The new nation was formally inaugurated in Palestine at 6 p.m. yesterday. At 6:01 p.m., President Truman issued the proclamation extending recognition and expressing the hope that Israel would work fully with the United Nations Truce Commission for Palestinian peace.

At the same time, war was declared on the world’s newest democracy by Egypt, with Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen proclaiming that "a state of war exists".

The armies massed against Israel in 1948 came from a land mass of many millions of square kilometres, an overwhelming force. Israel had no army, navy, air force or military equipment to speak of.

To give honourable senators some idea of size, the area of the State of Israel is a drop over 20,000 square kilometres. The area of Vancouver Island is a drop over 32,000 square kilometres, so Vancouver Island is more than 50 per cent bigger than all of Israel. The little state of Vermont is 30 per cent larger than Israel. Nova Scotia is more than twice the size of Israel. Nevertheless, Israel survived.

Faced with ongoing hostility from its neighbours, continuous wars, attacks, rocket attacks, suicide bombings, economic primary and secondary boycotts, and threats of nuclear annihilation by Iran’s lunatic president, Israel has nevertheless been able to exist, to continue to exist, and to create a vibrant, dynamic, democratic society.

All of us in this chamber and in Canada generally should be justifiably proud of the pivotal role which Canada played in the creation of the State of Israel and the unwavering support which Canada continues to give to Israel under governments of every stripe.

Our two countries share the same values. Israel, like Canada, has a free press, gender equality, an independent judiciary, a vibrant and dynamic civil society, a respect for and the application of the rule of law, and, of course a democratically elected Parliament called the Knesset, whose rowdiness from time to time is exceeded only by the antics of Question Period in the other place.

Honourable senators, I am always proud to be a Canadian, but I am especially proud on this day because of the supportive role which Canada has played and continues to play with respect to Israel.

Please join me in wishing Israel a very happy birthday on its sixtieth anniversary.