“I believe the time has come for Rome to recognize Jerusalem as the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,” Netanyahu said ahead of his trip to Italy.
By United with Israel Staff
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he will ask his Italian counterpart to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital, prompting immediate backing from Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.
“I believe the time has come for Rome to recognize Jerusalem as the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, as the United States did with a gesture of great friendship,” Netanyahu said in an interview with Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper published ahead of his departure on Thursday, referring to the Trump administration’s 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its subsequent embassy move.
Salvini expressed enthusiastic support for Netanyahu’s bid. “I firmly say yes to Jerusalem, capital of Israel, in the name of peace, history and truth,” he posted on Twitter.
Netanyahu also told the newspaper that Israel has “plenty” of natural gas, which he seeks to bring to Italy “to support its economic growth.”
In light of the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italy has committed to seeking energy alternatives.
Netanyahu also castigated Italy’s voting habits at the UN, saying he hoped to see to it that they would change in the near future. “Since 2015, Italy has voted against us 89 times at the UN,” he said.
He also said that Iran would be a top priority during his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Friday.
“I discern a change in the approach to Iran in recent months, both in the U.S. and in the countries of Western Europe, and in the West in general. I see a need and an obligation to try and strengthen a more assertive approach with Iran,” he said.
“Of course, this will be at the center of my meeting with the Italian prime minister just as it was at the center of my meeting with [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron. I intend to hold similar talks with principal European leaders in the near future,” Netanyahu added.
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