ROME (JTA) – Italy’s new government includes a former ambassador to Israel as its foreign minister.
Career diplomat Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, who has been ambassador to the United States since 2009, was tapped as foreign minister by economist Mario Monti, who was appointed prime minister after Silvio Berlusconi stepped down Saturday night. Monti was sworn in Wednesday and announced his government team of non-political experts.
Terzi di Sant’Agata served as Italian ambassador to Israel from 2002 to 2004. Italy served as president of the European Union in 2003, and Terzi di Sant’Agata was instrumental in fostering better relations between Israel and the EU at that time. He also was instrumental in organizing the visit to Israel by Italian rightist leader Gianfranco Fini, who was then Italian deputy prime minister. The November 2003 visit capped nearly a decade of effort by Fini to shed the jackboot image of his neo-fascist roots and fully emerge as a mainstream rightist leader. Fini is currently the president of the Italian Champer of Deputies.