In interview with Italian daily, Israeli leader defends his balanced stand between Russia and Ukraine
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he believes the Ukraine-Russia war will last “for a while” before the two sides decide to seek mediation, but reiterated his willingness to help stop the “carnage.”
In an interview with Italian daily La Repubblica ahead of a three-day visit to Rome, Netanyahu explained his country’s balanced stand between Russia and Ukraine.
“Israel is the only country whose pilots fly over the Golan Heights at a very short distance from the Russian jets in Syria, because we have to prevent Iranian military aid to Hezbollah,” he said in the interview published on Thursday. “We are clearly interested in avoiding a confrontation with Russia … Our relationship with Russia is very complex but we do everything we can to help the Ukrainians and to end this conflict.”
The Israeli premier, who will meet Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, is expected to discuss possible agreements on energy and natural gas and the risk of nuclear power in Iran.
“I would like to see more economic cooperation (between Israel and Italy) … I believe a closer relationship with your companies will be positive for both sides,” he said.
“And we have natural gas: we have plenty of it and I would like to talk about how to bring it to Italy to support its economic growth,” he added.
Netanyahu said he will ask Meloni to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“I believe the time has come for Rome to recognize Jerusalem has been the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. As the United States has done in a gesture of great friendship,” he said.
The Israeli also premier responded to questions about protests he has been facing at home over the past nine weeks against his planned justice reform, accused of putting at risk the democratic system. “I say the protests show how solid our democracy is,” he said.
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