'Clear vision.' Netanyahu (L) and Berlusconi
Photo: Ilan Moskowitz
"We are lucky that there is a leader such as yourself. I don't believe we have a better friend in the international community," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi during a gala dinner at Jerusalem's King David Hotel Monday night.
"Humanity is facing one of its most difficult tests since World War II," Netanyahu said in reference to the Iranian nuclear threat, "The attempt by a radical, despotic, blood-thirsty Islamic regime to arm itself with nuclear weapons threatens the well-being of the state of Israel, the region, and all of humanity. What is needed today is clear-cut evidence that there is an objective, determination, and, above all, courage.
Italian premier deeply moved by tour of Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, writes 'This cannot be' in guest book
"The next generations will study how governments and leaders handled themselves during this time of crisis. The (world's) leaders must display determination and courage to stop the evil in time," said the Israeli premier.
"I must say, Silvio my dear friend, you have clear vision, you have determination, and you have the courage of a real leader. We can only hope that the leaders of the free world unite against this danger," Netanyahu told his Italian counterpart.
'A part of your history.' Israeli, Italian PMs at King David Hotel (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
Berlusconi, for his part, spoke of his visit to Yad Vashem earlier in the evening.
"I was introduced previously to the terrible history of your people by Jewish friends of mine," he said. "I have visited Auschwitz and I felt like I was part of your history.
"My job is to make sure that world leaders do not commit the same errors of the past, the error of indifference that brought about the greatest tragedy in history," he said.
Berlusconi, who arrived in Israel Monday morning with a number of his ministers, also promised to back Israel in the international community.
"I will continue to act as I have acted until now from a belief in the righteousness of your path and from the belief that it is impossible to take my eyes away from the proven dangers that you see," he said.
"I brought my government with me here for the first of many meetings," Berlusconi added. "Israel has become one of the five closest countries to Italy. You can turn to us in any request for support in the international community. I want to promise you that this is not just my position. This is also the position of the entire Italian government and people."