First on the agenda was a delegate meeting with “Israeli thinkers”.
Mr. Jonathan Medved, CEO of OurCrowd Funding Group delivered a very positive and interesting presentation called “Start up Nation”. He told the delegates that Israel was quickly becoming recognized around the world for the development of high tech business and the country is developing a favourable financial, as well as intellectual market that has enabled the creation of what he referred to as “serial entrepreneurs” – business people who were developing successful, recognized business templates for the development of high-tech start-up ventures. He noted several start-ups that have been purchased by Google and IBM for significant amounts of money and cited that the business climate was very encouraging for a future prosperous economy.
Medved stated that over the past ten years there have been over 900 successful public company exits, many of which have strongly linked the Israeli economy to the American economy. There are over 300 multinational companies that are located in Israel which have further linked Israel strongly to the world economy – and said that in the “life sciences” field, there have been over 700 device company start-ups alone.
He commented that “Europe is addicted to Israeli products” and is one of Israel’s largest trading partners despite it’s boycott rhetoric. Trade with the UK is surging despite it’s fixation on the BDS movement.
Medved further stated that Asian investors are flocking to Israel.
The theme of the presentation concluded that here was a positive future in Israel for high-tech industry.
The second agenda item was a visit to the Palmachim Air Base outside of Tel Aviv.
The delegation was taken on a tour of the Palmachim Air Base and received a briefing on air defence security, specifically the ARROW Missile Defence System. We visited operations control and were briefed on Israel’s defence capabilities for missile attacks that included conventional, ballistic and inter-continental ballistic missiles.
One can only conclude that Israel’s defence capabilities are significant and impressive.
The final item on the agenda was Prime Minister Harper’s address to the Knesset.
Prime Minister Harper was awarded the key to the Knesset on his arrival – a show of great friendship and commitment between the two countries. There was a short private address to the Canadian delegation in the outer lobby and the group then entered the Plenary Hall for the formal address. Prime Minister Harper received a warm welcome from the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then took the podium and made a very special welcome to Prime Minister Harper expressing his sincere thanks on behalf of the State of Israel, for Prime Minister Harper’s principled public stand of support for the security of the state. He quipped with Harper about the friendship between these two geographically diverse countries, suggesting that there are streets in Toronto (Yonge Street), that are longer than the State of Israel. Netanyahu’s welcome was riveting and as a Canadian, one could not feel more proud of our Prime Minister and our government.
A further welcome was delivered by opposition MK Isaac Herzog who spoke to the moral courage of Prime Minister Harper for his principled positions.
Prime Minister Harper then addressed the Knesset with what I believe to be one of the most courageous speeches a world leader could make. He stated his unequivocal support for the State of Israel and spoke eloquently of the shared values of the two respective countries and received loud applause and many standing ovations. Despite the fact that he was heckled by two Arab MK’s who chose to leave the session mid-stream, Prime Minister Harper demonstrated himself to be a first class world leader of great moral character and distinguished himself – and Canada – on the world stage with his speech.
As a Canadian of the Jewish faith – one could not be more proud of Prime Minister Harper, and as we left the Knesset I heard person after person suggest that, indeed, he was the moral leader of the west…..specifically in comparison to the charlatan south of the Canadian border.
The event was electrifying.
Julius Suraski, JDL-Canada