Netanyahu Thanks Italian PM for Comments Against UNESCO Vote

'Even the theater of the absurd has limits,' Netanyahu tells Matteo Renzi after Italian counterpart slammed a resolution that disregards Judaism's historic link to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu and Saturday Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Jerusalem, 2015.
Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked on Saturday Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for his comments against a resolution passed by UNESCO on Jerusalem.

On Friday, Renzi assailed the anti-Israel resolution adopted by UNESCO, saying that he found it "shocking." Renzi said he will find out why Italy abstained from the vote instead of voting against the resolution, which disregards Judaism's historic connection to the Temple Mount and casts doubt on the link between Judaism and the Western Wall.

“I think this is a mistaken, inconceivable resolution,” Renzi said. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel. It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position [of abstention] even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe."

In a phone conversation Saturday, Netanyahu told Renzi that "even the theater of the absurd has limits" and that "countries that respect the truth should not participate in it," said a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Bureau. "It is not a question of politics, but of historical facts," Netanyahu added.

According to the statement, Renzi told Netanyahu that he will attempt to influence the positions of other European states in such votes in the future, and noted that he spoke with the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni about the vote.

"Netanyahu appreciates the leadership Renzi has shown as part of a welcomed change of direction in radical votes against Israel in international institutions," an official in the Prime Minister's Bureau said. "The change in UN institutions will take a few years and there will also be disappointments. But this is, without a doubt, the first sign of a welcomed shift."