‘It’s about time to welcome you in Israel,’ Netanyahu tells Meloni, ‘and see how we can advance our common interests to greater heights’
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday touted relations with Rome during a joint address alongside his Italian counterpart, after discussions over economic ties and gas exports in Italy.
In the Italian capital, Netanyahu expressed how “impressed” he was with Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s “vision, leadership, and decision to bring Italian-Israeli relations forward.”
While Netanyahu received much criticism from back home for the trip – including that it has wasted money from the public purse, coincided with a terror attack in Tel Aviv, and came during nationwide protests over his government’s planned judicial reforms – it could be argued that the visit politically showed that the Israeli leader is welcome in important Western capitals.
Before meeting with Meloni, the Israeli premier told a business forum that Israel wants to increase its gas exports to Italy and Europe, raising the possibility of creating a liquefied natural gas terminal in Cyprus.
Due to Italy being among the more important European countries regarding foreign policy and global economy, it could be relevant for Netanyahu to sit with Italian businessmen and politicians, especially as Israel looks to increase its global trade and amid major geopolitical developments including the rekindling of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“There’s room for enormous collaboration,” Netanyahu continued, pointing to future cooperation in the fields of water, gas, and cybersecurity.
Like other European countries, Italy has been working hard to reduce its dependence on Russian gas since the start of the Ukraine war. Israel began producing and exporting gas after discovering several reservoirs off its coast in the early 2010s, but it lacks a gas pipeline to connect its drilling platforms in the Mediterranean to southern Europe.
“I want to take it a step further by convening in Israel in a few months a government-to-government meeting that will address areas of mutual cooperation to benefit Italians, Israelis, and Europe alike.”
“It’s about time to welcome you in Israel,” Netanyahu told Meloni, “and see how we can advance our common interests to greater heights.”