Tel Aviv University awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper for “his exemplary conduct as a prominent world leader who promotes freedom, human rights and the rule of law.”
Harper was awarded “for his efforts to advance higher education; for his open and fundamental support of the State of Israel both as a private individual and as Prime Minister of Canada, and for his active and brave participation in the struggle against anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism.”
The university ceremony was one of many honors bestowed upon the Canadian leader, known for his support of Israel, throughout his visit this week in Israel.
Harper became the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the Knesset earlier this week. He told parliamentarians that Canada supported Israel’s right to statehood and would not tolerate efforts to delegitimize it within the international community.
“Canada finds it horrible that there are those in the international community who challenge Israel’s legitimate right to exist,” Harper said. “That with one solitary Jewish state among many others, it is all too easy to isolate Israel.”
Harper held meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.
The Canadian Prime Minister arrived in Israel with a large business entourage, hoping to improve Canada-Israel trade.
Harper and Netanyahu announced an updated Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) that will boost economic, cultural and social ties between Canada and Israel. The two leaders said free trade negotiations would be held in Israel from February 3-9.
Harper was given another tribute when he swooped down into the Hula Valley. He laid down a cornerstone for the new 4,000-square-meter, state-of-the-art scientific and educational visitor center planned for the Hula Lake Nature and Bird Park which is being named in his honor. Upon completion it will be called the Stephen J. Harper Hula Valley Bird Sanctuary Visitor and Education Center.
Israel’s new ambassador to Canada, Rafi Barak, told The Canadian Press the Israeli government views the wetlands preserve as “our symbolic way to say thanks” to Harper for the public support he’s offered their country over the years.
The Canadian leader also visited the Sea of Galilee.