In Israeli port, Canadian frigate plays a diplomatic role

HMCS Charlottetown, the first Canadian warship to visit Israel since 1995, is floating evidence of a closer relationship between the two countries.

HMCS Charlottetown entertains locals in Haifa

HMCS Charlottetown, the first Canadian warship to visit Israel since 1995, is floating evidence of a closer relationship between the two countries, the CBC's Peter Armstrong reports from Haifa.

The stronger ties were already shown by Canada's support for Israel during its 2006 war in Lebanon, a series of vote changes at the United Nations and high-profile visits by Canadian cabinet ministers, Armstrong says.

The 4,750-tonne patrol frigate, homeward bound after about five months in the Persian Gulf region, arrived in Haifa earlier this week on a friendly call.

It is a welcome break for the 225 crew members, but it also has diplomatic overtones.

The crew will meet Israeli officials, hold a shipboard reception and take on Israeli sailors at soccer, Armstrong reports.

"The Canadians wanted to play hockey, but the Israelis ruled that out," he says.