Israel–Italy relations

Italy Israel Rome
Israel–Italy relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and Italy



Israel–Italy relations comprise the foreign relations between Israel and Italy. Italy recognised Israel on 8 February 1949. Italy has an embassy in Israel, located in Tel Aviv, two general consulates in West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem[1] and 4 honorary consulates (in Beersheba, Eilat, Haifa and Nazareth).[2] Israel has an embassy in Rome.[3] The first Italian Ambassador to Israel was Carlo Gasparini, commencing in 1949. The current ambassador is Francesco Maria Talò.

Country comparison

Italy Israel
Flag Italy Israel
Population 60,461,826 (2020) 9,061,670 (2019)
Area 301,340 km2 (116,348 sq mi) 20,770 km2 (8,019 sq mi)
Population density 206/km2 (534/sq mi) 403/km2 (1,044/sq mi)
Capital Rome Jerusalem
Largest city Rome – 2,868,782 (4,355,725 Metro) Jerusalem – 901,302 (1,253,900 Metro)
Largest metro area Milan – 8,173,176 Tel Aviv-Yafo – 3,854,000
Government Parliamentary republic Parliamentary republic
First head of state Victor Emmanuel II David Ben-Gurion
Current head of state Sergio Mattarella Reuven Rivlin
Official language Italian Hebrew
Main religions[citation needed] 74% Catholic, 21% Irreligious, 5% Other 75.4% Jews, 20.89% Muslim, 7.8% others
Ethnic groups 92.8%% Italians, 1.1% Maghrebis, 1% Romanians,
0.8% Albanians, 0.3% Chinese, 0.3% Ukrainians,
0.8% Non-Chinese East Asians, 0.7 Afro-Italians, 0.5% Latin Americans
75.4% Jews, 20.6% Arab, 4.1% others
GDP (nominal) US$2.4 trillion ($35,913 per capita) US$305 billion ($38,004 per capita)
Military expenditures $37.7 billion (1.7% of GDP) $23.2 billion (7.6% of GDP)
Military troops 451,820 176,500
English speakers 34% 85%
Labour forces 25,600,000 4,198,000


The Israel Air Force and the Italian Air Force conclude an extensive, two-week joint exercise in Sardinia. 2010

Relations between Italy and Israel remain strong, with frequent diplomatic exchanges and a large volume of trade. The Israeli Government has followed with great attention the fight against international terrorism pursued by the Italian Government (also in the European arena: the decision of Riva del Garda to insert Hamas in the European list of organizations considered as terrorist). It has also been appreciated what the Italian Presidency has done in the framework of the United Nations on the Middle Eastern issues. Israel also welcomed the coherent and firm line of conduct, in contrasting the emergence of antisemitism in every possible form taken by the Italian government.[4]

Cultural exchange

Italian culture enjoys a very high standing among Israelis, who frequently visit Italy for education, work, tourism, and scientific and artistic exchanges. In the last ten years 105 books of Italian authors were translated from Italian to Hebrew. A strong community of Italqim who have made aliyah to Israel have strengthened cultural ties and promoted Italian culture in the country. The Italian Cultural Institute recently initiated and organized a series of activities in the Cultural Center of the Jews of Libyan extraction in Or Yehuda, where recently a course of the Italian language has been launched.

The Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute recently stimulated the creation of a Friends of Italy association ("Amitei Italia") which consists of more than 15,000 people. In 2004 the negotiations for the new triennial protocol (2004–2007) of the Bilateral Accord in the Cultural Sector in force as of November 1971. The Italian Cultural Institute operates in Israel as of 1960 with its principal office at Tel Aviv and a separate section in Haifa. The Italian language is being taught in various centers around the country. The total number of students studying in centers under the direct control of the Italian Cultural Institute on 2004 reached 1500, in 150 courses with 30 teachers. If the Dante Alighieri Society courses are considered, the figure reaches 2500 students.[4]

Recently, the possibility of introducing the teaching of the Italian language in various high schools and academic institutes in Israel has been successfully negotiated. For the academic year 2005-2006 the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv opened three academic courses of Italian Culture and Language at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. Italian is taught in four of the seven universities in Israel, and Israeli students study medicine, law, science, politics, architecture, and art at Italian universities.[5]

See also