Threat to Israel is threat to Canada, MacKay tells Israeli military commander | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Threat to Israel is threat to Canada, MacKay tells Israeli military commander

Minister of Defence Peter MacKay responds during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - Israel has received private assurances Canada stands ready to help defend the Jewish state, but just how far the Harper government intends to take that commitment is unclear.

Newly released documents say Defence Minister Peter MacKay told Israel's top military commander, Maj.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, during a 2011 visit to the Middle East, that "a threat to Israel is a threat to Canada."

The statement could have important implications given the increasing military co-operation between the two countries.

The declaration appeared in an internal summary of MacKay's trip.

Under the Harper government, Canada's support of Israel has been unwavering, even in the face of mounting international tensions over Iran's nuclear program.

A spokesman for MacKay said the comment was intended as benign.

The Israeli embassy declined comment, but pointed to remarks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to the Canadian-Jewish publications on March 5, 2012, which said Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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