Paolo Gentiloni, 60, a member of Parliament of the center-left Democratic Party is the new Italian Foreign Minister. Gentiloni was appointed on the post on October 31st, a day before his predecessor Federica Mogherini nomination as European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy became effective on November 1st (in the picture, the two of them together).
Gentiloni’s appointment was greeted by the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) Renzo Gattegna.
“In my personal capacity and on behalf of the Italian Jewish community I would like to congratulate MP Paolo Gentiloni for his appointment as the new Italian Foreign Minister” read a statement released by Gattegna. “Many challenges await Italian diplomacy which are inextricably related to the role Italy will be able to play in the atrocious and bloody conflicts occurring in the Middle East and now reaching Italian shores, shaking public opinion and the conscience of every Italian citizen who cares about values such as liberty, tolerance and democracy. Strategic capacity, long-term vision, firmness of actions are three essential qualities in a contest getting more and more dramatic and incandescent every day. Qualities that we believe Minister Gentiloni will be able to embody in the best possible way.”
Gentiloni speaks English, French and German and has been described by the Italian press as pro-American and pro-Israel (at the end of this past summer Israel-Gaza conflict, in a tweet, he blamed Hamas for Palestinian victims: “Palestinian victims by Hamas, Ukrainian soldiers pilloried, Yazidis forced to convert. A world of infamies” read the tweet posted on August 24).
Gentiloni was firstly elected to the Italian Parliament in 2001 as a member of the center-left Catholic party La Margherita, of which he was one of the founders. He served as Minister of Communications between 2006 and 2008. Since the 2013 elections he has been a member of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Italian Chamber, serving also as the president of the Italy-United States section of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, before Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, to whom he is considered to be close, decided to appoint him as Foreign Minister to replace Mogherini.
Speaking of Mogherini, during a meeting with Renzi that took place in Rome, the president of the World Jewish Congress Ron Lauder declared himself confident in Mogherini’s success in Brussels as the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
“I met her in Israel and I was struck by her competence. It is not going to be easy, but I am sure she is going to do a great job, both for Italy and Europe.” said Lauder.
Attending the meeting were also the UCEI member of the board Victor Magiar and the president of the Jewish Community of Rome Riccardo Pacifici. Among the topics discussed with the Italian Prime Minister was the issue of anti-Semitism.