The Italian Prime-Minister Silvio Berlusconi came to Jerusalem on Monday to meet with our fearless Prime-Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu. The visit was amiable and showed promise for Israel’s future as a welcome country in European eyes.
Bibi, in his Knesset remarks, said that
“Israel knows it has a great friend in Europe in Berlusconi.”
He also stated that
“this meeting will give momentum to relations between our two countries.”
“We appreciate you. We embrace you. We love you.”
Silvio Berlusconi said he dreams of one day seeing Israel join the European Union as a full-fledged and influential member state.
“As long as I am one of the shapers of politics, my greatest dream is to include Israel among the European Union countries,”
said Berlusconi shortly after arriving together with top Italian ministers in a joint cabinet meeting with their Israeli counterparts.
Berlusconi informed that he only holds joint cabinet meetings with the most important European nations. He said his visit demonstrates that he views Israel as part of Europe.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the Italian delegation warmly, and announced that the Jewish country is lucky to have a friend like Berlusconi in a region traditionally unfriendly to the Jewish people and to Israel.
The visit kicked off with a gala dinner at the King David Hotel then the following morning Berlusconi held working meetings with Lieberman and Netanyahu, where Lieberman hoped to enlist Berlusconi’s help in applying stronger European pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program.
He also met with opposition chairwoman Tzipi Livni, before visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem; about which he said the remembrance of what had happened in his and other European countries made him feel
“like someone punched me in the gut.”
A further joint cabinet session happened at the Prime Minister’s Office, where the premiers and ministers reviewed bilateral agreements and decided on areas of cooperation in the coming year, with an aim of deepening relations between Italy and Israel. A press conference was held afterward.
On Wednesday morning Berlusconi addressed the Knesset in a special session, and then opened an exhibition of seven original sketches from Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus. The Italian premier will end his visit in the Holy Land with a lunch with President Shimon Peres at the President’s Residence. From there he will go to Bethlehem for a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Berlusconi will be leaving Israel on Wednesday evening.
Silvio Berlusconi is among Italy’s richest men, estimated to be worth $6.5 billion.
He won his third term as prime minister in 2008, two years after his center-right coalition was voted out.
Mr. Berlusconi, 72, owns a business empire that spans media, advertising, insurance, food and construction.
He is also the owner of Italy’s most successful football club, AC Milan, admits he has had cosmetic surgery, has fought off repeated corruption allegations, and has been dogged by a sex scandal.
Israel is lucky to have such a good friend in him.