TORONTO, May 30 (UPI) -- Opponents and supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu staged events ahead of a Toronto speech where he pledged not to repeat "mistakes."
Orthodox Jews rejecting the establishment of the state of Israel until the Messiah comes gathered at the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place, while the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto organized its annual Walk With Israel downtown in support of the prime minister, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.
"We must not repeat the mistakes of the past," Netanyahu told the cheering crowd of thousands gathered for the walk. "When Israel left Lebanon, Iran moved in. When Israel left Gaza, Iran moved in again. We cannot afford to have that mistake repeated with the same consequences a third time. We cannot afford a third Iranian presence on the hills overlooking Tel Aviv."
Talking about the prospect of peace, JTA reported Netanyahu said the people of Israel "are prepared to make compromises for peace but they're not -- and I'm not -- prepared to make any compromises on our security. Israel will never ever give up the power to defend itself."
"And just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians will have to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The Palestinians will have to recognize the Jewish state," he said.
This was the first time since 1978 a sitting Israeli prime minister addressed the Jewish community of Toronto and it is seen as a thank-you to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's staunchly pro-Israel stance, JTA reported.