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Netanyahu, Meloni discuss cooperation between Israel, Italy

March 11, 2023 at 10:18 am

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni (R) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) with a ceremony at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy on March 10, 2023 [Israeli Gov’t Press Office (GPO)/ Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome on Friday, while dozens demonstrated against the plan to weaken the judiciary in the Italian capital, coinciding with the meeting between the two officials.

The Italian prime minister expressed concern about the escalation between Israel and the Palestinians, stating: “Italy is willing to do whatever we can to de-escalate violence, which is worrying for everyone.”

She pointed out that Israel is a friendly partner country, and the two countries will improve relations in the field of innovation, including artificial intelligence.

Concerning the water crisis Italy faces, Meloni conveyed: “We discussed the issue of water, and Israel has done a great job in this field. This is one of the many areas that can be improved through our cooperation. A session will be held between the two governments in Israel as soon as possible for the first time since 2013.”

Meloni expressed Italy’s support for Israel’s normalisation agreements with several countries.

READ: Israel ready to help Italy become energy hub

Netanyahu added: “The friendship between Italy and Israel has been a long one and a growing one, but I think it’s about to take on an even greater dimension. I think there is room here for enormous collaboration and improvement.” He also praised Meloni’s vision and initiative to strengthen relations between the two countries.

Netanyahu noted that Israel has dealt with a water problem and will help Italy, adding: “Israel is ready to do more and increase its gas export capacity to Italy and Europe.” The two sides also discussed cooperation in cybersecurity and other fields, mentioning that the two governments will hold a session in a few months to enhance cooperation.

Netanyahu invited his counterpart Meloni to visit Israel to discuss how to strengthen relations.

Coinciding with Netanyahu and Meloni’s meeting, a protest was organised in Rome with the participation of dozens of demonstrators against the plan to weaken the Israeli judiciary.

Netanyahu and Meloni’s meeting was preceded by the first meeting with dozens of businesspeople and representatives of major companies in Italy. He also met with the Jewish communities in a synagogue in Rome who expressed their concern about the “judicial reform” in Israel.

The head of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities criticised the plan to weaken the judiciary: “The importance of the proposed changes leads us to assert that there must be broad discussions and consensus, and it is understood that the elected majority proposes and encourages, but government responsibility means awareness of the centrality of these changes even in the long term. The pride we feel in Israeli institutions must continue and not be a thing of the past.”