Bennett and Italian PM
Bennett and Italian PM Haim Tzach/GPO

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Tuesday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The two first met in private and later an extended meeting was held between the parties in the presence of the Energy Minister Karine Elharrar.

At the meeting, the leaders discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between Israel and Italy, the consequences of the war in Ukraine and how to deal with the global food crisis.

They also discussed possible collaborations in the field of energy, especially in light of the potential for exporting natural gas to Europe through Egypt.

Prime Minister Bennett said to his guest: "Prime Minister of Italy, my friend, Mario Draghi, I want to welcome you and your entire delegation to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal united capital and the beating heart of the Jewish people."

"My friend, it is here in Jerusalem where the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Romans began, and it could be said that our relationship today is somewhat better.

"Our two great nations, Italy and Israel, serve as examples of modern independence restored in ancient homelands, two nations which are heirs to the principles and ideals of their ancestral roots and two nations which made significant contributions to the advancement of civilization and developed society.

"You and I, my friend, we’re privileged to lead these great nations to success. We both came to be prime ministers in an unconventional way and we both lead unique governments that are unprecedented in Israel or Italy.

"We both helped our countries restore economic stability and we’re both determined to act with pragmatism and conviction for the prosperity and security of our peoples.

"My friend, amico mio, Prime Minister Draghi, almost ten years ago you gave your famous speech and revealed your 'do whatever it takes' approach. I too will do whatever it takes to take the relations between Israel and Italy to a new level.

"I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Draghi and I have agreed to hold a G2G in Israel as early as this year, after a nine year freeze. I think that this is a very important step.

"One of the ways that Israel can help, is through energy cooperation forthwith. At the moment, Europe needs energy forthwith and Israel has natural gas in our economic waters. This is good news for Israel, Italy and Europe. We discussed the cooperation necessary to ensure that Israel's natural gas can also be used in Europe.

"I also look forward to the day when Lebanon decides that it is willing to take advantage of the natural gas in its economic waters. It is a pity that the leadership in Lebanon is dealing with unnecessary disputes instead of producing gas for the benefit of its citizens. I suggest the Lebanese government seize the opportunity to improve its economy and build a better future for the Lebanese people," Bennett said,

I suggest the Lebanese government seize the opportunity to improve its economy and build a better future for the Lebanese people.