Italian president visits Yad Vashem, Peres’s grave

Sergio Mattarella continues with state visit despite devastating earthquake in his country

Italian President Sergio Mattarella pays his respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem on October 30, 2016 (Yad Vashem/Twitter)
Italian President Sergio Mattarella pays his respects at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem on October 30, 2016 (Yad Vashem/Twitter)

Italian President Sergio Mattarella visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the grave of late president Shimon Peres on Sunday, as part of a state visit to Israel.

Mattarella continued with his itinerary despite the devastating earthquake that hit Italy early Sunday morning.

“The wound of the Holocaust remains open for all of us who respect life and cherish human values. Every victim is a loss for humanity,” he said while paying respects at the museum in Jerusalem.

Mattarella made his visit to Peres’s grave at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem with the late statesman’s son, Chemi.

“It was moving for me to meet the President of Italy today, as he came to pay tribute to President Peres,” Chemi Peres wrote on Instagram. “I was moved even more, as these are devastating day[s] for #italy as its people suffer earth quakes.”

Earlier in the day the Italian president planted an olive tree in a Jewish National Fund grove in the capital, saying he’s proud to do so “in light of the recent destruction in Italy.”

“The friendship between Israel and Italy is brave and strong and nothing will dampen it,” Mattarella said.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi earlier this month called the recent the UNESCO resolution that failed to acknowledge Judaism’s connections with holy sites in Jerusalem was “incomprehensible, unacceptable and wrong.”

Italy’s ambassador to the UN’s agency of culture and education abstained during the October 13 vote, along with the envoys of most western European countries.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella looks at pictures of Jewish Holocaust victims at the  Hall of Names on October 30, 2016 during his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. (AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON)
Italian President Sergio Mattarella looks at pictures of Jewish Holocaust victims at the Hall of Names on October 30, 2016 during his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. (AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON)

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