Binyamin Netanyahu, Matteo Renzi
Binyamin Netanyahu, Matteo RenziMarc Israel Sellem/POOL/Flash 90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi today (Saturday), as part of the former's first multi-day trip since the March election.

Prime Minister Netanyahu praised Prime Minister Renzi, telling him, "Your visit to Israel [last month] made a great impression. All the people of Israel were moved by your historic speech in the Knesset. I've heard many speeches in the Knesset. Yours was one of the exceptional ones that touched on basic truths that bind our two countries and our common civilization."

Netanyahu then spoke about the importance of innovation, which he sees as a common bond between Israel and Italy: "Italy has always been at the forefront of creativity. You only need to stand in this amazing hall next to the paintings of Vasari and the statues of Michelangelo to understand how creative and how powerful Italy has been over the centuries and today.

"Israel in turn is a global hub of technology. And I think that together we can innovate more than separate, both for the benefit of our two peoples, but also for the benefit of other peoples. And specifically we discussed in Israel and I hope we'll continue this tonight, how we can expand our cooperation in African countries that yearn for our expertise."

Following his praise and encouragement, Netanyahu focused on what he sees as the dangers to the modern world, particularly militant Islam.

"The savagery of the Islamic State of ISIS captures the world’s attention, and justifiably so," he said. "But I believe that a far more serious threat is posed by another Islamic state, the Islamic State of Iran, and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Let me make clear, Matteo, that Israel doesn’t oppose a civilian nuclear program in Iran. We oppose a military nuclear program in Iran. And regrettably, the deal with Iran allows it to keep and expand a formidable nuclear infrastructure that is completely unnecessary for civilian nuclear purposes, but is entirely necessary for the production of nuclear weapons."