Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein was scheduled to leave for Berlin and Rome Thursday morning for a series of diplomatic meetings. In Berlin, Edelstein will meet with European Parliament President Martin Schulz to discuss the labeling of goods manufactured in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the funding and support given to organizations in Israel by foreign countries and the European Union, and Iran`s plan to hold another international Holocaust cartoon contest.
During the meeting with Schulz, Edelstein will express his concern over the delay in the signing of the agreed upon bilateral agreements between Israel and the EU due to the fact that their relations are still evaluated according to the progress or lack thereof in the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians. The Knesset speaker will also stress his wish to advance an initiative for regional cooperation between the Knesset and Arab countries on a series of projects.
Schulz (left) and Edelstein during the European Parliament President`s visit to the Knesset (archives)
On Sunday Edelstein will meet in Rome with the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, Laura Boldrini, to express Israel`s objection to the scheduled visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Italy and ask his colleague to demand that Rouhani publicly denounce Holocaust denial, retract his threats to annihilate Israel and cancel Iran`s plan to hold a Holocaust cartoon contest. Edelstein and Boldrini will also discuss the fight against anti-Semitism, protecting the Jewish community in Italy and Israel`s willingness to cooperate and exchange information regarding immigration and integration.
On Sunday evening Speaker Edelstein and Minister of Religious Services David Azoulay will attend an event at the Great Synagogue of Rome to mark Jewish Week. The event will be held in the presence of Pope Francis and rabbis. Before entering the synagogue, the pope and a delegation of rabbis will visit a memorial honoring members of the Jewish community who were sent to Auschwitz in 1943. Later, the pope will take part in a ceremony at a memorial located in the synagogue`s courtyard in honor of the victims of the terror attack in 1982, with the participation of family members of those who were wounded in the attack. Following the event, Speaker Edelstein will hold a meeting with Pope Francis to discuss a number of issues.