Italian Jewish Parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein has decided not to run for re-election in Italy and instead to make Aliyah and return to her previous career as a journalist. According to Nirenstein, “Israel is today the best country able to offer culture, sociality, democracy, morality; a country where people adopted a lifestyle simple and natural” and “fight for their survival” in their “great love for their country.”

She plans on submitting her application for Aliyah on January 27, international Holocaust Remembrance Day, in order to take a stand against the anti-semitism that is growing worldwide and to reiterate that “Israel is the only warm homeland of the Jewish people.” Nirenstein is the daughter of a Polish Jew who lost half of his family in the Holocaust and who came to Italy in 1945 as part of the Jewish Brigade to fight against Nazism. In Italy, he fell in love with a Jewish partisan, whom he would later on marry. Fiamma, meaning flame in Italian, is the daughter of these two brave Jewish fighters and was raised to value Jewish resistance.

Fiamma Nirenstein has had a distinguished career in Italy. She presently is the Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, chairs the Parliamentary Inquiry on Anti-Semitism and is the president of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians. In 2008, Nirenstein was elected to the Italian Parliament as a member of the center right wing People of Freedom Party headed by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In parliament, she has been an outspoken pro-Israel advocate and critic of anti-semitism. Nirenstein evidently played a key role in strengthening Israeli-EU relations in the economic and security spheres. She worked to pressure the EU to ban Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah; and spoke at a pro-Israel rally in Rome during Operation Pillar of Defense. Nirenstein also came to Israel as part of a solidarity delegation during Operation Pillar of Defense. She has been awarded by the Israeli Knesset for her commitment and devotion to fighting anti-semitism.

Prior to her distinguished career in parliament, Nirenstein worked as an accomplished journalist and plans to return to that career. Nirenstein was awarded 16 journalistic and literary prizes. As a Middle East specialist, she formerly was a correspondent in Israel for Italy’s Il Giornale, where to date she still writes articles. Nirenstein also did a documentary for Italian television on the Gaza disengagement as seen from the eyes of its participants, and two of her books, The Abandonment: How the West Betrayed the Jews and Terror, the New Anti-Semitism, and the War against the West, have been translated into English.

While Nirenstein claims that she is giving up this illustrious career in the Italian Parliament out of love for Israel and journalism, she nevertheless hinted that she was also disturbed by actions taken by the Italian government. Nirenstein was reportedly “profoundly disappointed” that Italy supported the Palestinians at the United Nations. This Italian support for the Palestinians is part of a wider anti-semitic trend within Italy and Europe in general. Evidently, polls reveal that 44 percent of Italians don’t feel any sympathy towards the Jewish people and that 22 percent of Italians between the ages of 18 and 34 hold anti-semitic beliefs, despite not having much contact with Jews. Often anti-semitism within Europe is expressed as a hatred for the State of Israel. In making Aliya Nirenstein will be fulfilling the dreams of her ancestors and building Israel, the Jewish homeland.

By Rachel Avraham