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CIJA pro-Israel advocacy focuses on Canadian opinion leaders

Most non-Jewish Canadians don’t know much about Israel,” notes Martin Sampson.

Speaking to a gathering of Friends of Israel, the director of Communications and Marketing for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) pointed to a recent survey that indicated that 40% of average Canadians aren’t sure if Israel is a democracy and 11% are convinced that Israel isn’t a democracy.
As well, just 11% of Canadians think that there is a media bias against Israel while 30% see a media bias against the Palestinians. “Most non-Jewish Canadians pick up their information about Israel from the media,” Sampson pointed out, “and the information they pick up on is generally mainly from the headlines.”
While Sampson acknowledged that there is a media bias against Israel, in Canada for the most part, he attributes that most often to lack of context and the media dictum “if it bleeds, it leads” – meaning violence and conflict are what grab the headlines.
Sampson reported that CIJA focuses its pro-Israel lobbying activity primarily on politicians, university professors and the media. “There is no point in trying to take on anti-Israel activists in argument,” he noted. “It just gives them credibility and our surveys show that the average Canadian doesn’t react well to the two groups fighting with each other.”
The speaker read quotes from all three major national party leaders (Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau), all of whom spoke out very strongly in support of Israel. “One of our main objectives politically,” Sampson said, “is that there be no daylight between the political parties’ views on Israel. If anyone steps outside the consensus, we let them know immediately.”
As an example, he cited a proposed Liberal statement last summer after the Gaza War which the Liberals quickly changed, he said, after CIJA’s intervention.
Sampson also cautioned against drawing too much attention to anti-Israel activists. He noted as an example a $25,000 anti-Israel ad campaign launched last year in Vancouve byr an anti-Israel group to run on the sides of Vancouver buses. “I would have preferred to ignore the ads,” he said. “In reality, nobody pays any attention to bus ads.
“But the decision was made to fight these ads. The result was that the anti-Israel ads garnered $1 million worth of free publicity as a result of the controversy and – to many Canadians – it looked like the pro-Israel side was trying to censor the other side. Canadians believe strongly in freedom of expression.”
The BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement on North American campuses, Sampson noted, is hateful, divisive, anti-Semitic and has been completely ineffective. Not a single university has cut ties with Israel or companies selling products to Israel, he pointed out.
“The BDS movement does not resonate with Canadians and is fizzling out,” he reported.
In confronting anti-Israel speakers, Sampson suggested, the most effective counter strategy is to ask questions in a way that an audience can see the faulty logic. “Ask about what the speaker sees as an alternative solution,” Sampson suggested. “It is surprising how often the speaker quickly shuts up or starts stumbling around trying to answer.”
Sampson reported that CIJA is currently undertaking field surveys to see what Canadians’ views on the Israel/Palestine situation are now with a larger sampling in Quebec and larger cities. CIJA is also conducting interviews with Canadian élites to see where they are at on the issues.
CIJA was established in July of 2011 for the purpose of achieving greater impact, efficiency, and responsiveness of Jewish advocacy across Canada. CIJA is now responsible for all activities previously administered by Canadian Jewish Congress, Canada-Israel Committee, Quebec-Israel Committee, and the University Outreach Committee. CIJA works closely with its Jewish Federation partners across Canada, providing strategic advice and advocacy solutions both tailored to local conditions and consistent with the Jewish community’s national advocacy priorities.
Sampson is in his third year working for CIJA. He considers himself “an accidental Zionist”. His career has been working in public relations. His introduction to the Israel file came about after he was asked to take on a PR project for the Canada Israel Committee, one of CIJA’s predecessors.
“When CIJA offered me this position,” he said, “I liked the fact that I would have a lot of autonomy, the subject matter was interesting and it would connect me to a high purpose.
“I am not religious,” says Sampson, who is the son of a Polish-born mother and British-born father who met in Canada. “But I believe in the right of the Jewish people to have their own homeland. And I don’t understand why Israel is continually singled out for criticism and is having its legitimacy questioned.”

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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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