MFA apologizes for deputy minister's comments on Italy quake
Israel's Foreign Ministry issued an apology on Saturday after Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara created a diplomatic incident with Italy, asserting the recent earthquakes that rattled Italy were because it abstained from a recent, controversial anti-Israeli UNESCO decision.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement condemning Kara's words, calling them inappropriate and saying they were should never have been uttered. The MFA further stated that the ministry, as well as Kara himself, wish to apologize for his remarks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to meet with Kara to clarify matters.
Kara's remarks came during an official visit to the Vatican, in which the deputy minister headed an Israeli delegation and met with Pope Francis. Following the earthquake on October 26, which could also be felt in Rome, Kara published a strange statement hinting that it may have been divine punishment for the UNESO resolutions—and for Italy's decision to abstain from the vote.
Italian officials fumed at the remarks, leading the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry, as well as the Israeli embassy to Rome, to quickly issue an apology.
On a somewhat related note, Italian President Sergio Mattarella is scheduled to land in Israel on Saturday evening for a visit planned before the incident.