Italy is one of the most important partners for Israel in Europe. With the third largest economy in the EU, Italy wields substantial influence over the continent’s economic, political, and security dynamics.
Italy was among the very first countries to recognize the State of Israel in 1948, with the first Italian Ambassador to Israel, Carlo Gasparini, arriving already in 1949.
The close proximity and shared democratic values foster a robust relationship, evidenced by flourishing trade, frequent political exchanges, a notable Italian business presence in Israel, and numerous bilateral agreements. Cultural and historic ties further bind Italy and Israel, giving way to significant travel and tourism between the two countries. Ongoing institutional visits underscore not just the positive state of relations but also a shared commitment to increasing collaboration on national and global fronts. The exchange of knowledge and information adds another layer to this dynamic partnership, with both countries benefiting from shared expertise in various fields, contributing to mutual growth and innovation.
Israel and Italy have many common strategic interests, spanning energy and diversification, maritime security and border control, cyber security and counter terrorism, as well as science, technology, and innovation.
Gas exports from Israel to Europe via Italy is a major opportunity for both countries. Italy and Israel are both party to the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), a regional organization facilitating collaboration on matters pertaining to the development of new gas markets.
With both countries situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Israel and Italy hold strategic importance as gateways to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This positions them as critical players not only for addressing shared challenges, but also for forging new partnerships, notably between Europe, Israel, and Arab countries within the context of the Abraham Accords. The geographic implication reinforces the importance of the Italy-Israel relations as a bridge between Europe, the Middle East, and beyond, thus contributing to the overall stability and prosperity of the region.
Recently, Italy has taken on even greater diplomatic prominence including being a signatory of the Joint Statement on Israel issued by the White House together with France, Germany, and the UK strongly condemning the Hamas massacre of October 7th. Parting with past voting records, Italy also voted against a biased UN recommendation requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel. Such actions demonstrate Italy’s unwavering commitment to Israel.
ELNET in Italy
ELNET has long been committed to strengthening the Italian-Israeli relations.
In 2021 ELNET organized and hosted the first Italy-Israel Strategic Dialogue. ELNET hosted its first delegation from Italy in 2022. The delegation, organized in cooperation with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, brought to Israel nine young and promising parliamentarians from the Italian Parliament and the European Parliament. Following a meeting in the Knesset, ELNET translated an Italian regulation on the restriction of waste in the field of water, energy, and food for the Israeli Knesset’s consideration for regulations in this field.
In October 2023 the ELNET-Italy affiliate was officially launched. Its main office runs out of Rome, with a satellite office in Milan.
ELNET-Italy CEO publishes op-ed on the Israeli hostages held by Hamas
Writing in il Giornale, leading Italian journalist Francesco Giubilei writes about visit at Israel’s Sourasky Medical Center – Ichilov Hospital after the Hamas massacre of October 7th.
In the wake of the Hamas massacre on October 7th, with left over 1,200 murdered, over 5,000 injured, and over 230 taken hostage to Gaza,