Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, speaking at a school for future political leaders, on Sunday made some distinctly pro-Israel remarks to the directors of his Forza Italia party, media reports say.
Italian media reports quote Berlusconi as saying that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and as a result Western countries should support the country, not the Palestinian Authority.
Yet when "Gaza kept hitting Israel with rockets and Israel reacted [by] sending land troops, the Western world accused Israel," said Berlusconi, who turns 78 next Monday.
The recent success of Islamic State poses a definite threat to Israel, Berlusconi said, according to the daily il Messaggero. "Israelis are anguished by the latest facts related to the Islamic State," the paper quoted him as saying at the lecture in Sirmione, Italy.
The news website il Fatto quoted him as saying that "I cannot reveal my source, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that at this moment, the majority of Israelis believe Israel should defend itself with the atomic bomb."
On Friday, a lawyer for Berlusconi said that the European Court of Human Rights has agreed to hear the former Italian premier's appeal of his August 2013 conviction for tax fraud.
Berlusconi was sentenced to four years, which was reduced to one year. Reports say he is serving the sentence by working within a senior citizens' home. Berlusconi has said he is innocent of the charges.
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