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Netanyahu to Business Leaders: ‘Great Potential for Economic Cooperation with Italy’

March 15, 2023

by: Joshua Spurlock ~ Mideast Update

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A map of the Israeli natural gas network

Wednesday, 15 March 2023 | Israel has already doubled its exports to Italy in the last two years—to [US] $1.5 billion at the end of 2022—and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes this economic relationship has more room to grow. That was Netanyahu’s message last Friday to a forum of Italian business leaders, a group that together produces approximately € 300 billion [US $320 billion] in revenue.

In his comments with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni later that same day, Netanyahu said of Israel–Italy relations: “I think there’s room here for enormous, enormous collaboration and improvement.” After meeting with the business leaders, he said he is “even more convinced that we can do great things.”

Netanyahu specifically mentioned natural gas business. “Italy wants to be a hub for the supply of energy for Europe…We think exactly that, and we have gas reserves that we’re now exporting and we’d like to expedite more gas exports to Europe through Italy.”

Italian gas company ENI—the world’s 12th largest gas petroleum company in the world—was part of the business forum. Israel and ENI have already signed an agreement last year, but Netanyahu said in Friday’s press conference with Meloni that Israel thinks it can get gas cooperation with Italy “to a much higher level.”

To that end, Italian electric company Enel and gas infrastructure form Italgas were also in Friday’s business forum. The Israeli press release noted the energy companies are “interested in infrastructure tenders in Israel as well as the alternative energy and digitization technologies existing in Israel.”

Netanyahu said that with the push towards a more technological world the “future will belong to those who innovate.” And Israel can help with that.

As an example, Netanyahu pointed to Japan–Israel bilateral trade that has grown billions of dollars. The Israeli press release said that in Netanyahu’s view, “there is great potential for commercial and economic cooperation with Italy as well, which constitutes a major opportunity.”

Italy is working to invest € 200 billion [US $213.6 billion] in infrastructure, sustainability and other economic endeavors, with the Israeli press release noting that “Israeli companies have a unique opportunity to be a source of technology and innovation in this process.” Parallel to that, the press release noted that Italian companies “are interested [in] the tenders that are anticipated in Israel in energy, security equipment and infrastructure.”

One way Israel can work with Italy is in water solutions. The European nation has faced a drought in recent years, whereas Israel has become a global leader in desalination and agriculture in a dry environment.

In his comments to Meloni, Netanyahu said, “Israel has solved its water problems in an area that is supposed to be insoluble and we’d readily cooperate with your government to help solve Italy’s water problem. It can be done a lot quicker than people think.”

Netanyahu told the business leaders he planned to propose a government-to-government meeting with Italy, along with a sizeable meeting of the two nations’ business people. The press release said Netanyahu “added that such a meeting has major potential for cooperation and is an opportunity for the economic growth of both countries.”

Posted on March 15, 2023

Source: (Excerpt from an article was originally published by the Mideast Update on March 14, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)

Photo Credit: Fjmustak/

Photo License: Wikimedia

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