Italy’s Berlusconi arrives in Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and Italy will hold their first joint Cabinet meeting in Israel.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was accompanied by seven Cabinet members when he arrived Monday afternoon in Israel for a three-day visit.

The ministers are expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, as well as improving cooperative efforts and bilateral relations, Haaretz reported.

On Monday, Berlusconi was scheduled to plant a tree on Mount Herzl and visit Yad Vashem.  

The Italian leader will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni. He also will meet in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Italian government ministers will meet with their counterparts.

Netanyahu met with Berlusconi in Italy last summer. A reciprocal joint Israeli-Italian Cabinet meeting will likely be held next year in Italy.

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