Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is on an official visit to Israel, said Monday that his "greatest desire" is to see Israel join the European Union.
Berlusconi met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and later described the meeting as "extremely important" to Jerusalem's relations with Rome.
The meeting, he said, stressed the two nations' commitment to work together in the future. Berlusconi added that he follows Israeli politics and "can't help but feel the unfairness towards you."
The Italian premier concluded by wishing Israel a "prosperous future".
Netanyahu, taking an historical angle, thanked Berlusconi for his visit and wishes: "Rome and Jerusalem are the two great civilizations on which the West as we know it was founded.
"It's not every day that we are privileged to host one of Israel's greatest friends. The Italian prime minister is one of peace and freedom's greatest champions."
Berlusconi is visiting Israel along with several of his ministers, who are scheduled to meet with their Israeli counterparts over the next few days, ahead of a gala dinner to be held in Jerusalem later this week.
Wednesday will see Berlusconi meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.