European Union Parliament President Roberta Metsola told Israeli lawmakers on Monday that the EU pledges to fight antisemitism.
"Being antisemitic means being anti-European," Metsola told lawmakers in a special Knesset address. The parliament president also stressed the EU's commitment to strengthen its ties with Israel. "This is my first visit, but it won't be my last," she said.
Toward the end of her speech, Metsola also said that the EU is committed to the two-states solution and said that a fruitful peace process is achievable.
Knesset speaker Mickey Levy, who spoke before her, urged the EU to stand against Iran. "We expect our friends to stand against the terror that Iran applies with its proxies across the Middle East," Levy said in the Knesset Plenum.
Metsola arrived in Israel on Sunday. Besides her Knesset speech, she is scheduled to meet with a series of senior Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog, Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
In addition, Metsola will visit Yad Vashem, meet with students at Tel Aviv University, and inaugurate the Europa Forest observatory near Beit Shemesh.
Metsola is also expected to visit the West Bank and meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Earlier this month, she met Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and told him that the EU Parliament "is ready to play its part to find a way forward" for peace talks, while reiterating "support holding the long-due elections without delay" in the Palestinian territories.
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President Metsola’s visit is her first since her election to her post in January 2022, and is the first by a president of the European Parliament in Israel since 2014.
President Metsola, 42, is the youngest person to hold her post in EU history, and the first from Malta.