Italy

International Israel support initiative launched

By Leon Symons, July 22, 2010

An unprecedented show of support for Israel has come from a group of almost entirely non-Jewish European and American politicians, statesmen and women and theologians.

Led by former Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar, they have formed the Friends of Israel Initiative, to oppose the rising tide of criticism and delegitimisation that has questioned Israel's right to exist and act in self-defence.

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Nun who hid Jewish family honoured

By Robyn Rosen, March 25, 2010

An Italian nun who hid a Jewish family in her convent during the Second World War has been awarded posthumously with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Madre Maria Agnes Tribbioli was nominated for the Yad Vashem honour by Cesare Sacerdoti, of Brondesbury, who was rescued by her when he was five years old.

Florence-born Mr Sacerdoti, 72, went into hiding with his mother and younger brother, Vittorio, on November 6 1943, after the Florence synagogue was raided and vandalised by German SS and Jews were rounded up.

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Mussolini iPhone withdrawn

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, February 4, 2010

Italy’s best-selling iPhone app is a collection of speeches by the country’s Second World War dictator Benito Mussolini, now withdrawn from sale.

The success of the “iMussolini” app sparked media debate and protests from Holocaust survivors.

“iMussolini” was launched on Italy’s iTunes store on January 21, less than a week before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is widely marked in Italy. Three days later, it topped the Italian iPhone app sales list.

The app contained audio, video and text of more than 100 speeches of Mussolini dating back to 1914.

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Berlusconi: My dream for Israel to join EU

By Jessica Elgot, February 1, 2010

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has declared that Israel should become a member of the European Union.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr Berlusconi said: “My greatest desire, as long as I am a protagonist in politics, is to bring Israel into membership of the European Union."

He added: “We would like a committed friendship to grow from this meeting, to work together toward the future.

"I hope we can all look towards a future of profit and prosperity, particularly peace for you, whose fragile existence is threatened."

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Ex-Nazi commander jailed for Italy massacre

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2009

A 90-year-old former Nazi commander has been jailed for life in Munich for ordering the deaths of 14 people in an Italian village during the second world war.

Josef Scheungraber, as a 25-year-old Wehrmacht lieutenant, ordered the massacre of the civilians in 1944 in the Italian village of Falzano di Cortona in Tuscany.

He denied he explicitly told the military police to kill the victims, 11 of whom were locked into a farmhouse which was set alight.

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Let's not forget Gilad!

June 16, 2009
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A video from the pupils of an Italian elementary school who read the fairy tale written by Gilad: When the shark and the fish first met

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Protests greet Iranian leader

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, June 6, 2008

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted street protests and diplomatic snubs during a one-day visit this week to Rome, where he also reiterated attacks on Israel.

The controversial Iranian leader, making his first trip to the West as Iranian president, was in Rome on Tuesday for the World Food Summit of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

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Rome's Jews back 'Facist' city mayor

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, May 23, 2008

Since assuming office last month, Rome’s first right-wing mayor since the Second World War has made strenuous efforts to demonstrate support for Israel and concern for Jewish sensibilities.

Within days of his election, Gianni Alemanno met local Jewish leaders and honoured Holocaust victims and the victims of a 1982 Palestinian terror attack at Rome’s main synagogue.

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