President Rivlin welcomes the Governor General of Canada
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin this morning (Wednesday) hosted an official welcoming ceremony for Governor General of Canada David Johnston and his wife Mrs. Sharon Johnston, marking the first official visit to the State of Israel by a Governor General of Canada. The President and First Lady received their guests on the red carpet, before the national anthems were played, after which both the President and the Governor General reviewed an honor guard and delivered brief public statements.
President Rivlin began by welcoming the Governor General, his wife, and all the delegation, “It is a great honor to welcome you to Israel and to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Jerusalem is not just the capital of the Jewish people, it is the heart of the Jewish people.” He added, “Governor General, your visit here together with your wife and delegation is important to us and to me, not just because of the respect we have for you but because of the close friendship between the people of Israel and the people of Canada. We see this in the growing cooperation, and we are proud of the partnerships between us in trade, in academia, in culture, in technology, in medicine, and much more. I know you will see an example of this cooperation during your stay, and I am pleased to congratulate you on the Honorary Doctorate from the Technion.”
He added, “You arrive here after visiting my friend, King Abdallah of Jordan. Israelis and Jordanians are working together for the sake of the Jordan Valley, the Jordan River, and the holy sites all around that area. This is one example of the growing ties between Israel and her neighbors. During your stay in Israel you will visit a school where Jewish and Arab children learn and grow up, side by side. This is another example of how Jews, Muslims, and Christians live side by side in peace every day.” The President stressed, “I know you will visit our neighbors the Palestinians. I believe, that we can find an end to this conflict, and build trust between us. But there must be an end to incitement, and an end to terrorism. We are not doomed to live together, we are destined to live together.”
President Rivlin concluded by saying, “Governor General I know, you have a motto which you use to express your vision: “To envisage a better world”. In the Jewish tradition we also have this motto. In Hebrew, it is “Tikun Olam”, to heal the world. I think this shows your Excellency how deep the shared values between our peoples. I know your visit will help, strengthen the bonds between us, and I welcome you, on behalf of all the Israeli people.”
Governor General Johnston thanked the President for his warm welcome, and said, “. I’m delighted to be the first governor general of Canada to visit Israel,” and added, “we’re here to strengthen the already robust relationship between our countries.” He noted, “Our two countries are great friends and great partners. Moreover, we share common aspirations and values, one of which is the importance of pluralism and diversity. I know, President Rivlin, you have made this one of your priorities while in office. Canada is a diverse country with a multitude of different languages, backgrounds and religions. Israel, too, is a diverse nation, with significant ties to the history of many peoples.”
The Governor General continued, “I would like to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to work with Israelis, Palestinians and other partners to uphold the prospects of a two-state solution, and achieve a just and lasting peace.” He concluded by noting that, “In a world of instant, digital communication, face-to-face visits like this are so important. The Canada-Israel relationship is exceptional. It has economic, cultural, scientific, political and strategic dimensions, all of which are grounded in our people-to-people ties. It is my hope that Canadians and Israelis can continue to build smarter, more caring societies. And I hope that we will do so together."
The President and the Governor General went on to hold a working meeting during which they discussed the regional situation, and the strengthening of ties between the two countries. Later, President and First Lady Rivlin will host a State Dinner in honor of the visit of the Governor General and his wife.