Dror Eydar, 54 years old, Israeli ambassador to Rome since September 2019, he is above all a humanist. He cites Dante ame moria and books on Roman history abound in his Capitoline residence, written in Hebrew, English and Italian. «Historically», he says, showing some of those ancient volumes, «the relations between Italy and Israel are very strong. Jewish intellectuals were inspired by the wonderful Italian Risorgimento. In 1861 Moses Hess, a German Jew, published Rome and Jerusalem: 9 years before the capture of Rome, he wrote that with the liberation of the Eternal City on the Tiber River, the liberation of the Eternal City on Mount Moriah would begin. A prophecy that has come true ».
What about today, ambassador? How are the relations between our peoples?
«Italy and Israel collaborate in many sectors. Companies have common economic interests, but the fundamental component remains friendship. A month ago, at the end of the joint exercise, Israeli military pilots told me wonderful things about their Italian colleagues. This is also the case in agriculture, healthcare, cybersecurity and research. The first official visit of our foreign minister, Yair Lapid, was here. We have many things in common”.
There is more, I understand.
“There is a question I ask myself. Because I notice a discrepancy between these close relations and Italy’s attitude towards Israel in the international arena, starting with the UN. I don’t understand, we don’t understand. Over twenty resolutions are adopted against Israel every year, there is no other nation that receives such treatment. Everyone knows that the UN’s decisions against Israel are a theater of the absurd, yet everyone, including Italy, takes part in the scene “.
It also happened recently, after the operation in Gaza.
“It was the operation of a democratic state against Hamas, a Nazi-style terrorist organization. Yet the UN Human Rights Council has passed a resolution to investigate Israel, accusing it of committing “war crimes”. Without dedicating a word to the four thousand rockets launched against Israel. And Italy abstained, thus putting Israel and Hamas on an equal footing ».
He talked about it with our politicians, I presume.
“The head of the Foreign Affairs Commission in the Senate, Vito Petrocelli (member of the M5S, ed), told me:” I did not support Israel or Hamas, I am against violence “”.
“I told him that the Jewish people, when Shabbat ends, pray to God to give them the ability to distinguish between light and dark. Because if a person cannot distinguish between a democratic state that does not want to fight and is forced to do so, and an organization whose raison d’etre is to destroy Israel and the Jews, the problem is not ours: it is this person who has a big moral problem. It belongs to those of which Dante writes in the Third Canto ».
«” Those who will live without fame and without praise “. Those who do not even deserve to enter Hell, because they have never taken a position ».
For Italy it is a tradition. In 2016 he abstained on the Unesco resolution which denied the link between Jews and the holy places of Jerusalem.
«The whole Western world wants to intervene in the historical, religious and sentimental relationship that binds the Jews to Jerusalem. But Jerusalem is not a capital like any other: it is the raison d’etre of the Jews. During the exile we remembered it every time we ate and still today, after thanking God for the food, we add: “And don’t forget to build Jerusalem” ».
Jerusalem is also sacred to Muslims and Christians, ambassador.
“But this is about religion, not politics. Jerusalem was a political capital only for our people. And only the sovereignty of Israel guaranteed that there was freedom of religion and movement for all ».
Donald Trump has moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. It was the first, but also the only one.
«Trump made a great gesture. He entered history as the new Ahasuerus, the Persian king who after the Babylonian exile allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Recognizing it as the eternal political capital of the Jewish people is the reward for all the disasters we have suffered ”.
Matteo Salvini promised to do the same. Is this what you expect from Italy?
«I know that Italy is not the Roman Empire, but Titus was sent from Rome to destroy Jerusalem. After nearly two thousand years, the Jewish people have returned home and rebuilt Jerusalem. What is missing? May Rome and Italy also participate in this miracle. Is my dream”.
In Italy, however, there are those who take a stand. A leftist writer, Michela Murgia, wrote in recent days: “I think of it as Hamas.”
“It’s surprising from a writer of Christian origin. If she had been in the Gaza Strip, she would have been discriminated against both as a woman, which for Hamas must not have rights, and as a Christian, because Hamas has persecuted all Christians in Gaza ”.
The Murgia is certainly not the only one to think so. How do you explain it?
“There are intellectuals, or people who would like to be, who make an ideology of their ignorance. It would be enough if they read the Hamas statute, written in 1988. There are two principles in that charter. The first is a total commitment to the complete destruction of the Jewish state, the second the promise to kill every Jew, wherever he is. In the last hundred years I know of only one document in which such ideas appear ».
Il my fight.
“Precisely. For those who believe it is possible to deal with Hamas, I recommend reading these articles: “Peace initiatives, so-called peaceful solutions, international conferences to solve the Palestinian problem contradict all the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement”, that is, Hamas. “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem other than jihad” ».
Maybe certain people transfer their sympathy for the Palestinian cause and the poor in Gaza to Hamas.
“But Hamas is not” the Palestinians “. It is a distinct entity that does not even recognize the Palestinian Authority. Of course, there are poor people in Gaza, but those naive intellectuals do not know that, even while Hamas fired thousands of rockets at us, against our children, Israel has never stopped supplying Gaza with electricity, water, gasoline and food ”.
The World Bank and other organizations are raising money to donate to Gaza in reparation for the damage suffered.
“It’s another thing Westerners don’t understand: most of that money is used for terrorist purposes, to keep the Gaza Strip perpetually militarized. The rest goes directly to the leaders of Hamas: Ismail Haniyeh’s wealth is valued at 4 billion dollars, that of Musa Abu Marzook at 3 billion ”.
Another frequent accusation against Israel is that of conducting an “apartheid” policy towards the Palestinians. Alessandro Di Battista, another character with a certain following, also repeats it.
“I know, there are people who repeat such lies over and over again. In Israel, an Arab judge sent the president of the state of Israel to prison. Would this be apartheid? Here, Arab citizens have the same rights as everyone else. Indeed, they have more than the Jews, since they do not have to do military service ».
And how do you explain that so many in the West spread lies about Israel?
“It’s the new anti-Semitism. They say they are not against the Jews, but against the Jewish state, yet the aim is always that. They contest the right of Israel to defend itself from its enemies, hence the right of the Jews to exist and to have a nation like other peoples. And by defending ourselves we are not only defending ourselves: Israel is the outpost against terrorism and extremism that threaten the free world ”.
By the way: how are your relations with the EU? In Brussels they intend to relaunch the nuclear deal signed with Iran in 2015.
“I know the Iranians. They are number one in trade, highly skilled in negotiations and capable of changing the opinion of naive Europeans. Also in 2015 the world said that Israel was wrong to oppose. Two years later, the Mossad obtained the Iranian nuclear project archive. There was evidence that Iran had lied during the negotiations, its intentions were military. Now comes Mohammad Zarif, their foreign minister, in an English suit and tie, and that is enough to convince the Europeans ».
The war between Israel and Iran is one of the great fears of the West. How far are you willing to go to defend yourself?
“Iran declares every day that it intends to exterminate the Jewish people, and history has taught us that we must believe dictators when they say something. We begged the Allies to bomb the Auschwitz railway line. They could have saved half a million Hungarian Jews, but they didn’t. But we’re done begging the others. Thank God, we now have the technology to stand up for ourselves and the wisdom to use it. Nobody will be allowed to exterminate Jews anymore. If there is a need, we will know what to do ».