Friday, 2 Dec 2022 - 8 of Kislev, 5783

Giorgia Meloni, poised to become Italy’s Prime Minister, has vowed to develop her country’s relations with Israel

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“Israel represents the only fully-fledged democracy in the broader Middle East and we defend without any reservations its right to exist and live in security. I believe that the existence of the State of Israel is vital, and Fratelli d’Italia will make every effort to invest in greater cooperation between our countries,” she said in an interview with Israel Hayom.

Giorgia Meloni, whose right-wing Conservative party Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) won Sunday’s parliament elections and is poised to become the country’s Prime Minister, has vowed to develop her country’s relations with Israel.

Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party won almost a quarter of the votes in the elections. The coalition she forms with Matteo Salvini of Lega and Silvio Berlusconi of Forza Italia  is expected to win an absolute majority in parliament. Berusconi is very pro-Israel. When he was President of the Council of Ministers he even suggested that Israel should joint he European Union.

What about Georgia Meloni ?

‘’I believe that the existence of Israel is vital and I will make every effort to invest in greater cooperation between our countries,’’ she said in an interview witgh Israel Hayom a few days before the elections.

She said: “Israel represents the only fully-fledged democracy in the broader Middle East and we defend without any reservations its right to exist and live in security. I believe that the existence of the State of Israel is vital, and Fratelli d’Italia will make every effort to invest in greater cooperation between our countries. After all, this has been the friendly attitude that the Italian Center-Right has always held towards Israel whenever it has been in government. On the other hand, the Left cannot say the same, not traditionally and neither in this election campaign, which has brought to light repeated incidents of left-wing candidates being caught writing antisemitic-flavored posts on their social media.”

She had visited Israel when she served as minister during the last Berlusconi government (2008-2011). ‘’It was a very significant mission, with the moving visit to Yad Vashem: a conscience-shaking experience. I will certainly return to Israel, hopefully soon,’’ she said.

But when asked by Israel Hayom if a government headed by her would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the Italian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she replied: “This is a very sensitive issue, on which I think the next Italian government, like all those before it, will have to act in synergy with our partners in the European Union.”

She describes her party, Fratelli d’Italia as the party of the Italian conservatives as she distanced herself from the far-right.’’We  support individual freedom, the centrality of the family, the preservation of the Western, European, and Italian cultural identities, as well as self-reliance and private economic initiative and social cohesion. We are a modern European and Western right-wing government, a pillar of the European Conservatives and Reformists Party of which the prime ministers of Poland and Czech Republic are members and which I have the honor of chairing. We also have strong ties to Likud, the British Tories, and the American Republicans.’’

In her interview with Israel Hayom Meloni said that ‘’one of the most common manifestations of antisemitism today is anti-Israel propaganda which Jews in Europe are most likely to encounter online.’’ ‘’Jews in Europe are also subjected to the threat coming not only from far-left and far-right factions but especially from radicalized Islamic immigrants who feed on resentment with regards to Israel,’’ she added.

Her party suspended one of its election candidates after he was found to have praised Adolf Hitler in online posts. The party candidate, Calogero Pisano, had reportedly hailed Hitler as a “great statesman”.

The Jewish community protested the comments. “The idea that those who praise Hitler can sit in the next parliament is unacceptable,” Ruth Dureghello, head of the Jewish community in Rome, wrote on Twitter.

Responding to the controversy, Fratelli d’Italia announced it was suspending Pisano with immediate effect. “From this moment on, Pisano no longer represents (the party) at any level,” it said in a statement.

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