Ahead of Italy trip, Netanyahu calls for Rome to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a faction meeting of his Likud party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a faction meeting of his Likud party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 20, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In an interview published today in the Italian daily la Repubblica, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls for Rome to “recognize Jerusalem has been the ancestral capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.”

He addresses the ongoing protests against judicial reform, saying that they “are a natural part of this confrontation, but I believe we will overcome them.”

“Democracy is not at risk and will be strengthened by a reform of the judiciary, considered necessary by an overwhelming part of the population,” says Netanyahu.

He also hints at some flexibility on his part, saying “the extent and scope of the reform will be determined in the coming weeks.”

Netanyahu pledges that his government “will remain true to civil rights, minority rights and democracy,” and that his Likud party guides policy on security and foreign affairs, not his right-wing allies.

“Ben Gvir and Smotrich joined Likud, not the opposite,” he says.

Netanyahu also says that he is ready to negotiate with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but accuses him of not being willing.

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