Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs, today met in Jerusalem, where they reaffirmed the importance of the Canada-Israel relationship and committed to strengthening cooperation even further. The meeting comes one year after Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a historic visit to Israel and witnessed the signing of a Canada-Israel Strategic Partnership Memorandum of Understanding. "The first anniversary of the signing of the strategic partnership provides an opportunity for Foreign Affairs Minister Lieberman and I to renew our dedication to building a strong and vibrant partnership," said Baird. "To that end, today marks a new chapter in Canada-Israel relations and celebrates the substantial progress made since Prime Minister Harper's visit. The 2015 Joint Declaration of Solidarity and Friendship highlights this partnership and outlines steps both our nations will take to increase collaboration on diplomatic, trade and development files." While in Israel, Baird will meet with a number of other senior political figures, including President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Baird also met with opposition politicians, including Moshe Kahlon. "Canada and Israel share similar views on the world stage," said Baird. "Canada strongly supports Israel's right to defend itself by itself and its right to live in peace with its neighbours. Canada will fight any efforts internationally to delegitimize the State of Israel, including the disturbing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement." During his visit, Minister Baird announced the following projects and signed the following memorandums of understanding: Canada-Israel Joint Declaration of Solidarity and Friendship Memorandum of Understanding - An Enduring Diplomatic Partnership: Foreign Ministry Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation Declaration of Intent Between Canada and Israel on Enhancing Trade Promotion Addition of Israel to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List Grand Challenges Israel Following his visit to Israel, Baird will travel to Davos, Switzerland, where he will attend the 2015 World Economic Forum, which this year takes place from January 21 to 24. On January 18, 2015, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Israel's Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed a 2015 Joint Declaration of Solidarity and Friendship that reaffirms the two countries' commitment to a strategic partnership and sets out areas of increased collaboration in the areas of diplomacy, trade and development. Memorandum of Understanding - An Enduring Diplomatic Partnership: Foreign Ministry Cooperation Canada and Israel will expand diplomatic cooperation and consultation to deepen bilateral linkages and broaden mutual understanding by establishing a diplomatic exchange program, enhancing dialogue between diplomats and strengthening social media collaboration. Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation Canada and Israel will work together to oppose efforts to single out or isolate Israel by developing a coordinated public diplomacy initiative to oppose boycotts of Israel, to oppose those who call into question the Jewish state's right to exist and to work to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Declaration of Intent Between Canada and Israel on Enhancing Trade Promotion Canada and Israel will jointly promote Canada-Israel trade, focusing in particular on small and medium-sized enterprises, by organizing economic seminars, encouraging business development missions, promoting visits by officials to significant trade shows and exploring joint business opportunities in third countries. Addition of Israel to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List On January 14, 2015, the Government of Canada concluded the regulatory process to expand the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL) to include Israel. This amendment expands the AFCCL to a total of 39 countries. Grand Challenges Israel The Grand Challenges Israel (GCI) initiative is modelled on the Stars in Global Health program of Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), which is funded by the Government of Canada and already making substantial contributions to global health. GCI and GCC are part of a growing international network of organizations promoting global health innovation through a "grand challenges" approach. Grand Challenges Israel is aimed at fostering scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world. In the last few years, Grand Challenges Canada has been working in close cooperation with key stakeholders in Israel to create and launch Israel's own Grand Challenges program. The partnership between Grand Challenges Israel and Grand Challenges Canada was discussed and agreed upon by the governments of both countries during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's January 2014 visit to Israel.