Has the time come for Italy to move its embassy to Jerusalem?

AJN Agency.- Rome and Jerusalem: there is perhaps no other capital pairing that evokes more history, grandeur, conflict, apocalypse and just plain excitement. The modern Western world would not exist as we know it today without the meeting and clash of the respective societies and cultures of these two capitals.

The result would be the formation and rise of Christianity and Christendom, “Judeo-Christian” values, Biblical inspiration and aspirations, the history and political order of Europe (since all its major royal houses would claim descent, and by extension legitimacy, of the House of David) and much more.

Jerusalem and Rome also ultimately serve as an example of reconciliation, partnership, and mutual respect.

This is why present-day Italy, more than any other country in the world, save Iraq (as a modern geographical iteration of what was the non-Arab Kingdom of Babylon and, eventually, the Babylonian Empire), has a particular historical responsibility to move its embassy to the 3,000-year-old capital of the Nation of Israel.

Italy and its people are traditionally considered the heirs of ancient Rome, and today, as in ancient times, the capital of a united Italy is located in the same city from which the Roman Republic and Empire took its name.

That historic responsibility is an enduring legacy of the Roman Empire’s conquest and occupation of the Land of Israel. After more than a century of Roman imperial occupation and rule, both directly and through collaborating proxies, in AD 66 a massive rebellion broke out by the nation of Israel, a full-scale war.

Jerusalem had not only been brutally subjugated, looted and desecrated in the years before AD 66, but the climax of the war in AD 70 would see the city besieged – after being liberated by Judean forces early in the conflict – and ultimately its destruction along with the Second Temple at its heart.

The leader of Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, holds a poster at the party’s electoral headquarters, in Rome, Italy, on September 26, 2022. (Credit: REUTERS/GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE).

The treasures, records, and sacred vessels of the Temple that were not directly destroyed were looted and shipped to Rome along with countless of our enslaved ancestors.

Part of the looted treasures, along with the blood and sweat of the enslaved, would be used to finance and build the very symbol of Rome to this day: the Colosseum (along with numerous other monuments in the city).

Those vessels and treasures of the Temple that were not melted down and used for their monetary value, would be displayed as relics of a great and renowned nation subjugated and destined to disappear by the Roman Empire, in a purpose-built building, sardonically and ironically called the Temple. of Peace, financed again with the looting of that same nation – Israel.

In two subsequent major wars between the Roman Empire and the Nation of Israel—along with countless smaller-scale revolts throughout the period of Rome’s occupation of the Land of Israel and the surrounding region—many more would be exiled, enslaved, and killed by Rome.

At the end of the third and final war, better known as the Bar-Kochba War, one that saw Rome threatened with defeat the likes of which had not been seen since its transformation into an empire, Emperor Hadrian would implement additional persecution policies against the Nation of Israel.

Jerusalem would be officially renamed Aelia Capitolina in her honor, the entire Land of Israel would be renamed Syria-Palaestina, and Jews would be barred from even entering Jerusalem. The attempt to sever even the most innate ties between the nation and the land would have devastating effects on the nation of Israel thereafter, and still affects the geopolitical landscape of the modern Middle East.

Therefore, it would be the highest expression of historical justice and truth for the Italian Republic to move its embassy in Israel to our eternal capital, Jerusalem.

Conversely, it would also be a reflection of the intimacy, mutual respect and productivity of modern relations between Israel and Italy, not only on a state-to-state level, but on a people-to-people level.

THE REMAINS of the massive Temple of Peace in Rome, built by Emperor Vespasian, where the Herodian Temple vessels were housed for 400 years. (credit: HARRY MOSKOFF)

THE REMAINS of the huge Temple of Peace in Rome, built by Emperor Vespasian, where the vessels of the Herodian Temple were housed for 400 years. (credit: HARRY MOSKOFF).

Israelis love Italy, the food, the culture, the various places in the country and it is one of the main tourist destinations for Israelis. Italian brands, from Alfa Romeo to Gucci, are very popular in Israel.

More and more Italians are visiting Israel not just to make a religious pilgrimage, but to explore the country’s culture, nightlife and now world-class cuisine; a Mediterranean nation that uses many similar ingredients in such different ways.

Both nations, at home and in our respective diasporas (which are often concentrated in the same cities and even neighborhoods, especially in the United States), are acutely aware that family, ethnicity, and faith play equally important roles in our daily life. Consequently, it is easy for our nations to identify with and feel comfortable with each other.

At the state level, Israel’s military, intelligence and technological prowess are increasingly important to Italy’s national security and defense strategies and policies.

Cooperation in all these fields, and more recently the potential for cooperation in the energy sector, with Israel’s natural gas discoveries, serve to reinforce the bilateral State-to-State relationship.

There is now also a new Italian government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, which is made up of many supporters and defenders of Israel. The prime minister herself expressed her interest in deepening ties with Israel, which she described as the Middle East’s only “full-fledged democracy” and whose existence she, she made clear, is vital.

As a right-wing leader with a conservative ideology, Meloni, along with his like-minded coalition partners, prioritizes national sovereignty and the preservation and strengthening of the nation-state model as a fundamental part of the world order.

The defense of the national patrimony and the reinforcement of the national identity in the face of multiculturalism and the identity politics that extends throughout the western left are part of these efforts.

Meloni and his associates, such as Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, see Israel as an example of a proud Western nation-state, with a clear and strong identity, exercising its sovereignty and independence in a Western world dominated by postmodern and postnationalist paradigms. Israel is therefore a role model in their eyes, and a nation to be respected and admired.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who is expected to soon return to the head of the Israeli government, recognized this phenomenon among Western governments led by the right, and specifically the coincidence between the interests and worldview of the European right and the fundamental interests and the position of the State of Israel in the global geopolitical scenario.

A Netanyahu-led government working directly with the Meloni government would make a possible embassy move even more possible. The move of the Italian embassy would also serve to dispel, perhaps for good, any lingering discomfort among some about the past association of Prime Minister Meloni’s political party, the Brothers of Italy, with certain anti-Semitic elements.

With history to be rectified and made, and the worldview of the current Italian government ostensibly in tune with such a move, the moment should be seized and the Italian Embassy in Israel moved to where it always belonged: to the city known for the Roman Empire already in its time as the ancient capital of the Nation of Israel, Jerusalem.

Article published by Ilan Pomeranc (an Israeli high-tech entrepreneur and member of the Israel Leadership Forum) in The Jerusalem Post.

Has the time come for Italy to move its embassy to Jerusalem?