Israel is willing and ready to send assistance to Italy in the wake of Sunday's earthquake, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting, shortly after yet another earthquake hit central Italy.
“I would like to say to my friend, the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi, Israel is prepared to send aid to the best of its ability,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister said that Israel remains in a high level of readiness for these types of disasters, as witnessed by the search and rescue efforts last month following the collapse of a parking lot under construction in Tel Aviv.
Israel, he said, is “ready to help our friends the Italians.
Netanyahu also took the opportunity to welcome Italy's President Sergio Mattarella, who arrived in the country for a four day visit on Saturday night. Netanyahu said that Israel “appreciates the strong and clear statement that we heard from Italy on many issues important to us.”
Italy was one of the 26 countries that abstained in the October 13 UNESCO executive board vote that erased any Jewish connection to Temple Mount.
Italy did not, however, join five other EU nations in voting against the resolution, though Renzi promised Netanyahu afterward this would not happen again, and told him that saying the Jewish people has no connection to Jerusalem is like saying the “sun creates darkness.” He also pledged that Italy would work to convince other EU countries to oppose those types of votes in the future.
On Saturday the Foreign Ministry issued an apology for comments Deputy Regional Development Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud) made last week during a visit to the Vatican attributing recent earthquakes in Italy to divine retribution for that country’s abstention in that UNESCO vote.
Those comments, the apology said, did not reflect the strength of Israeli-Italian ties, were unworthy, and would “better of not having been said.”
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