21 Rabbis join PM Stephen Harper for Israel trip

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, and his wife Laureen receive flowers from Israeli children...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, and his wife Laureen receive flowers from Israeli children after landing at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on January 19, 2014. (REUTERS/Heidi Levine/Pool)

David Akin, Parliamentary Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 2:47 PM ET

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived here Sunday for his first-ever visit to Israel leading a monster-sized delegation that includes 21 rabbis.

Harper left Ottawa Saturday night with his red, white, and blue Royal Canadian Air Force jet crammed with what is easily the largest delegation he has ever had for an overseas trip.

As the plane departed Ottawa, Harper's aides distributed a list of 208 individuals that is part of Harper's official accompanying party for his four days in Israel.

In addition to the 21 rabbis on that list, there are also 27 chief executives of Canadian companies, at least one Roman Catholic priest, a handful of lobbyists, and other representatives from corporate Canada.

On top of that, Harper is travelling with cabinet ministers James Moore, Ed Fast, Christian Paradis, John Baird, Jason Kenney and Joe Oliver.

But that's just the start of the parliamentary contingent. There are also eight MPs -- Alberta's Blake Richards, Ontario's John Carmichael, Chungsen Leung, David Sweet, Peter Kent and Mark Adler, Manitoba's Joyce Bateman, and B.C.'s James Lunney -- plus two senators -- Irving Gerstein and Judith Seidman.


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