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 remains 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 came a year after cabinet colleague Peter Kent was upbraided as junior foreign affairs minister for telling a Toronto-based publication that “an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada.”
The declaration, appearing in an internal summary of Mr. MacKay’s trip to Israel, could have important implications given the increasing military co-operation between the two countries. 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.