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Prime Minister Stephehn Harper
Photo by Rhonda Spivak

 
Watch PM Harper Sing and Perform at JNF Gala in T.O. including Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline

By Rhonda Spivak, Dec. 18, 2013

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Israel will always be able to count on Canada  for support, announcing plans to visit the Jewish state at the beginning of next year. The visit will be his first visit ever to Israel.

Harper made the announcement at the annual Toronto gala of the Jewish National Fund, where he delighted his audience with a surprise rock performance.

Addressing the audience, Harper, who was this year's honoree, dressed in  casual attire, and stunned the crowd by becoming the lead singer and keyboard player of a three-person rock band.(video below).

Ahead of his rock performance, Harper noted that Israel, Canada and the Western world share common threats.

Harper’s show included renditions of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and “Jumping Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones. He closed the set, by quipping that he “has a day job” to get back to, and raised the roof with an encore, a Beatles number.

Harper’s performance was followed by a televised video message from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, who lauded his Canadian counterpart as a “true leader.”

 

“Stephen doesn’t follow the herd,” Netanyahu said. “He has stood up for the truth, time and time again. Stephen doesn’t want to be politically correct, he wants to be correct. He had the courage to stand up for what he believed,” he said. “I salute you Stephen, not only as a personal friend, and a friend of Israel but as a great leader.”

Some 150 protesters gathered outside the dinner in a rally against the prime minister’s appearance at the gala dinner,  carrying signs condemning Israel’s “policy of apartheid”.  JNF organizers slammed the protests as attempts to “delegitimize” Israel.

Harper was honored at the annual dinner in light of the construction of a new visitor center in the Hula Valley to be named after the premier. About 4,000 guests attended the event at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, including several tables of members of Winnipeg's Jewish community.

The new project includes the establishment of an international bird sanctuary visitor and education center, as part of the Hula Valley Rehabilitation Plan. The center will be a 4,000-sq.m. construction and will serve as a scientific and educational facility. Harper is scheduled to visit the project during his upcoming visit.

David Koschitzky, chairman of the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, welcomed Harper’s announcement of an upcoming visit. “This visit will provide Israelis with an opportunity to thank the prime minister for his steadfast friendship and support over many years.”

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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