by Joanne Hill
Israel’s Vice-Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon told an enthusiastic rally of 1,000 people at Toronto’s Canada Christian College on Sunday that the government of Israel will not permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons nor will it permit Israel to be turned into an Islamic state.
Ya’alon was the keynote speaker at the Night to Honour Israel – Canadians Inscribe the Bible event, which was also hosted by B’nai Brith Canada and Christians United for Israel.
“While we continue to pursue our efforts for peace, Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons,” Ya’alon said. “What are the implications of an Iran that can produce nuclear weapons? First and foremost, this is a very severe threat to Israel and we are not going to allow it…. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his regime must face a dilemma: the bomb or survival.”
The four main challenges facing Israel, Ya’alon said, are the growth of radical Islamic terrorist groups; the ongoing international campaign to delegitimize Israel and dehumanize Israelis; the ‘Palestinian narrative,’ which blames Israel for all problems in the Middle East; and the need to strengthen ties with other democratic countries.
“In the coming months, we are going to see decisive moments in each of these areas.”
Many Palestinians “hope that Israel, too, will become someday a Palestinian Arab Islamic state. We are not going to let it.”
If the United Nations mandates a Palestinian state along 1967 borders without the Palestinians recognizing Israel’s right to exist, “we, the Israeli government, are not going to participate in such a process. We, the Israeli government, believe that Jews have the right to live in any place in the land of Israel, either in Jerusalem or in Judea and Samaria. We in the Israeli government believe that Jerusalem should be the capital of the Jewish state as (its) undivided, united capital.”
The evening’s event was also, Ya’alon said, a “celebration of the most ancient and best-read book in the world, a book that has influenced hundreds of millions throughout history.” The People of the World Inscribe the Bible project “is very important in bringing Jews and Christians together and strengthening the Christian association with the state of Israel.”
Other speakers included Amos Rolnik, creator and head of the Bible project; Dr. Charles McVety, president, Canada Christian College; Dr. Grant Jeffrey, best-selling author; and Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, Chabad@Flamingo. Dr. Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada CEO, had the honour of introducing Ya’alon.
The crowd roared as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s name was mentioned as a great friend of Israel. Rabbi Kaplan’s invocation, which praised Canada’s leadership was met with a standing ovation.
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