Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper surprised the guests who attended the festive gala at Jerusalem's David Citadel Hotel Tuesday evening, took off his tie and performed several songs to the enthusiastic crowd.
The gala was sponsored by the Jewish National Fund and was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, and JNF Chair Effie Stenzler.
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Harper took the stage during the evening and sang several sixties songs, including The Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "Hey Jude", and Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline", which he dedicated to his wife Laureen. Watch Harper's performance:
The great crowd at the event joined the Canadian prime minister in song. Between the different tunes, Netanyahu grabbed the microphone and announced: "I knew he was a prime minister – but I had no idea he was a Canadian rock star!" Prior to the formal event, Harper met with President Shimon Peres, who praised him and said: "There aren't many friends who speak of Israel in such a friendly manner."
Hula Valley's visitor center is to lay a cornerstone in the name of Harper, who is set to visit several holy sites to Christianity in northern Israel. He will also be named an honorary doctorate of the Tel Aviv University in a special ceremony Wednesday evening.
“Canada supports Israel because it is right to do so," Harper said in an address to the Knesset plenum on Monday. "It is a Canadian tradition to stand for what is principled and just, regardless of whether it is convenient or popular."
Before leaving the podium to a standing ovation, Harper reiterated the strategic message of his speech: "Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you."
Harper landed in Israel on Sunday for a six-day visit to the Middle East, in which he will also visit the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. Harper and his wife Laureen have come to the region with a delegation of 250 people that includes six ministers, 30 businessmen and Canadian Jewish community leaders.