Italian PM: Israel Is the Nation-state of the Jewish People

During visit to Israel, Matteo Renzi says 'it is possible to disagree on the compromise with Iran, but there will never be any compromise regarding Israel’s future.'

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Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Credit: Reuters

In a speech to the Knesset this afternoon, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people. Renzi said that when he delivers a speech to the Palestinians in Bethlehem later in his visit, he plans to tell them that “to recognize Israel is to recognize reality.”

Renzi, the youngest prime minister in Italy’s history, arrived on Tuesday for a visit of several days to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The centerpiece of his visit to Jerusalem was his speech to the Knesset this afternoon. In the speech, Renzi voiced enthusiastic support for Israel – for its security, economy and culture.

The Italian prime minister talked about his visit on Tuesday to Tel Aviv University together with a delegation of Italian scientists, and referred in that context to the calls for boycotts of Israel. “Whoever boycotts Israel doesn’t understand that he is boycotting himself and doesn’t understanding that he is betraying his own future,” Renzi said.

He also spoke of the peace process with the Palestinians, calling for the renewal of negotiations and insisting that “peace will only be possible with two states for two peoples, and only if security is guaranteed for both peoples, along with the Palestinians’ right to self-definition and the right of the nation-state of the Jewish people to security.”

“Peace means that the Palestinians will have their nation-state and the Jews will have their nation-state,” said Renzi. “Recognizing Israel means recognizing reality The existence of the State of Israel is not a gesture of the international community after the Holocaust, but a fact that predates any international agreement by hundreds of years Israel exists despite the Holocaust not by virtue of the Holocaust.”

Referring to the nuclear deal with Iran, Renzi said that Italy supports the accord and views it as a positive step. At the same time, he sought to send a reassuring message to the Israeli government. “It is possible to disagree on the compromise with Iran, but there will never be any compromise regarding Israel’s future,” said the Italian prime minister. “Israel’s security is our security too.” 

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