Israeli Ambassador to Canada Rafael Barak thanked the Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for helping Israel improve its standing at the United Nations.

Barak said that Canada helped Israel gain admission to the U.N.’s group of Western nations about a year ago. Previously, Israel was barred from the Asian U.N. group, where it belongs from a geographical standpoint, due to opposition from Muslim nations.

As a result of being admitted to the Western group, Israel can better defend itself against anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. and can run for seats in U.N. bodies, including in the Human Rights Council, which is currently investigating Israel’s actions (but not those of Hamas) during last summer’s Gaza war without the Israeli government’s cooperation.

The Canadian government believes Israel “should be a player in an international forum and the multilateral community… so this makes a difference,” Barak said in a story published Tuesday by Canada’s Global News.

“We are very, very thankful to Canada,” he said.

Harper is known to be very friendly to Israel and critical of U.N. bias against the Jewish state. “Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a U.N. member-state and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty,” Harper said in a speech to the Israeli Knesset last year.

Source: JNS