Netanyahu, Italian PM at Florence meeting discuss furthering ties


ROME (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi, at a meeting in Florence discussed expanding ties between their countries.

The meeting Saturday night took place in the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s City Hall, and focused on international concerns including Islamic terrorism and the Iran nuclear deal, and on bilateral agreements between Israel and Italy.

“We can further expand the cooperation between Israel and Italy in technology, in agriculture, in culture and science, in fighting terrorism, in security and stability for our world,” Netanyahu told Renzi, according to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. “Together we can innovate more than separate, both for the benefit of our two peoples, but also for the benefit of other peoples.”

Netanyahu,who spent three days in Italy, recalled Renzi’s speech last month to the Knesset, thanking the 40-year-old center-left leader for an addressed he termed “historic.” Renzi in the speech voiced his opposition to the international boycott movement against Israel, and said Israel and Italy “share the same fate.” While backing the Iran nuclear deal, he vowed the West “would not forsake Israel.”

On Friday, Netanyahu met in Florence with a delegation of Jewish leaders, headed by the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, Renzo Gattegna.

“Israel considers Italy a natural bridge for Europe because it’s the country that strives to understand what are Israel’s needs,” he said following the meeting.

On Thursday, Netanyahu visited Milan Expo, which showcases technology and development, and delivered a message of willingness to share Israel’s technological and scientific results in sustainable agriculture with the world.

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