Gas for Jerusalem recognition? Netanyahu reveals agenda for Italy trip

“I believe the time has come for Rome to recognize Jerusalem as the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,” Netanyahu tells Italian newspaper.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to strengthen ties between Israel and Italy, including providing the country with natural gas, according to a report published by Italian newspaper La Repubblica hours before the premier is scheduled to take off for a trip to Rome.

“Our relations are very solid, but I would like to see more economic cooperation. Israel is the home of innovation, and I believe closer interactions with your companies will be good for both of us,” Netanyahu told a La Repubblica journalist.

“We have natural gas…plenty of it, and I would like to talk about how to bring it to Italy to support its economic growth.”

Netanyahu also hinted that he would ask Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to move Italy’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I believe the time has come for Rome to recognize Jerusalem as the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, like the United States has done in a great gesture of friendship,” he said.

Netanyahu added that changing Italy’s voting patterns at the UN was a top priority for his trip. “Since 2015, Italy has voted against us 89 times at the UN,” he noted.

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“It [comes in contrast to] our excellent bilateral relations. Instead of dealing with nations like Syria and Iran, where the most basic rights are trampled on, at the UN, countries vote against Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

The premier also touched on the Iranian nuclear threat, referencing CIA Director William Burns’ recent announcement that the Islamic Republic is just days away from enriching uranium to nuclear-grade levels.

“Iran should know we will do everything in our power to prevent it from becoming a nation on the threshold of nuclear power,” Netanyahu said. “There is no way to stop a rogue regime from obtaining nuclear weapons without a credible military threat.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, arrived at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday afternoon for their flight to Rome, flying to the airport in a police helicopter to avoid road-blocking protests.

On Thursday morning, a decoy helicopter from the Israel Air Force was dispatched to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center’s helicopter pad, drawing protesters who believed Netanyahu would be using it to reach the airport.