PM to Italy’s Jewish leaders: Israeli innovation will defeat BDS

Netanyahu says efforts to isolate Israel will ultimately fail because ‘science and technology are stronger than any boycott’

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jewish community leaders in Florence, Italy, on August 28, 2015. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jewish community leaders in Florence, Italy, on August 28, 2015. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the leaders of Italy’s Jewish community on Friday that Israeli advances in technology would ultimately defeat the “dark forces” of anti-Israel boycotts.

“The world believes in Israeli technology because science and technology are stronger than any boycott,” he told the leaders of Italy’s 24,000-strong Jewish community during a visit to Italy.

“We want to bring Israeli technology to the world, but we are caught in a struggle between the forces of progress and modernity and the dark forces who seek to bring us backwards,” he said.

“It’s a struggle between freedom and slavery, between day and night,” he added. “We are not only fighting for our common way of life, but also for the truth — we are fighting the lies being spread about us.”

On Thursday, the prime minister toured Israel’s pavilion at the World Expo in Milan where said that Israel sought to play a bigger role in providing agricultural innovations in African food production.

While visiting booths at the expo showcasing innovative advances in food production and agricultural technology, Netnayahu said increased cooperation between Israel and Italy in Africa would be at the top of his agenda during talks with Renzi on Saturday.

Netanyahu, who is on his first major overseas trip since being re-elected in June, said his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi was a “key partner” in the in the struggle against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel.

At the World Expo’s Israel pavilion, visitors were greeted by a massive “vertical field” growing wheat, rice and corn, making it one of the top draws at the six-month long world fair.

The structure, which is 12 meters tall and 70 meters long is intended to showcase Israeli expertise in the drip-irrigation technology that has enabled the cultivation of crops in arid areas around the world after being first developed on a kibbutz in the Negev desert.

The innovative ‘standing-up’ field was developed specially for the Expo, but pavilion spokesman Menachem Gantz said it is hoped the design could serve as a model for architects seeking to create green spaces in tight urban areas.

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