Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Italy's Brothers of Italy party, is poised to become the country's prime minister after her party received 26 percent of the vote in the Italian parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Right wing and center-right parties won a majority in the elections, giving Meloni the task of forming a governing coalition.
The Brothers of Italy party is considered a far-right party and has drawn accusations of facism and semi-facism. Last week, the party suspeneded a candidate who had praised Hitler.
Meloni herself has made several controversial statements. accusing Israel of carrying out "another massacre of children in Gaza” during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and praising Hezbollah and the coalition which supported Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad in 2018 as the "protectors" of Syria's Christians.
Meloni has attempted to position herself as a more pro-Israel candidate in the recent elections. Last week, she told the Israel Hayom newspaper that “Israel represents the only fully-fledged democracy in the broader Middle East, and we defend without any reservations its right to exist and live in security. I believe that the existence of the State of Israel is vital, and Fratelli d’Italia will make every effort to invest in greater cooperation between our countries.”
While the Israeli government has yet to comment on Meloni's victory, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked congratulated her on her election.
"Congratulations to Giorgia Meloni on her victory. The right won in Italy and will win in Israel as well. Yes, women can do anything, even lead a country," Shaked wrote on Twitter.
Meretz chaiwoman Zehava Galon criticized Shaked for congratulating Meloni, responding that "women can also do facism."