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ISRAEL

Italy assured famous painting is ‘safe’ in Israel

A famous painting by Renaissance master Botticelli went on display Tuesday at the Israel Museum after diplomatic efforts that assured Italian authorities the fresco would be safe.

Italy assured famous painting is 'safe' in Israel
Botticelli's painting is being shown at the Israel Museum. Photo: Wikipedia/Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze

Earlier this month Italy said it would delay the loan to Israel of "The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala" with the culture ministry in Rome saying the timing was "not appropriate".

Italy's decision coincided with regional tensions that soared in anticipation of possible US military action in Syria, now prevented following Saturday's US-Russian deal on Syria's chemical arsenal.

Then earlier this week the museum announced that the Botticelli – the first to go on display in Israel – would be arriving on schedule.

A spokesman for Israeli Culture Minister Limor Livnat said she did all she could to convince her Italian counterpart that "there was no danger in bringing the artwork, and the Israel Museum had all the necessary conditions to safeguard it."

According to a museum spokeswoman, the near-delay was not due to regional tensions but rather a matter of conservation.

Painted in 1481, the work was intended for the hospital of San Martino alla Scala in Florence.

After suffering heavy damage, it was transferred to a Florentine workshop in 1920 for restoration.

Speaking at Tuesday's opening, Israel Museum director James Snyder said the fresco had a deep connection to the Holy Land since the annunciation story took place in Nazareth, and "the landscape in the fresco is the landscape of this ancient land.

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ITALY

Italy’s Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report

Ex-PM Matteo Renzi would like to see former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi become prime minister of Italy, a party source told Reuters on Sunday.

Italy's Renzi wants ex-ECB boss Draghi to become prime minister: report
Matteo Renzi. Image: Andreas Solaro/ POOL / AFP

“I would say that is one of our proposals,” confirmed the source, who declined to be named.

The Italian government collapsed last week when PM Giuseppe Conte resigned. The former coalition allies are currently trying to come to an agreement and sort out their differences.

The centre-left government had been in turmoil ever since former premier Matteo Renzi withdrew his Italia Viva party earlier this month, a move that forced Conte to step down this week.

During the past year, Renzi frequently criticised Conte’s management of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper also reported on Sunday that President Sergio Mattarella was considering Draghi for the prime ministerial role. However, Mattarella’s office promptly denied this, saying there had been no contact between them.

So far, there has been no comment from Draghi, who hasn't been seen much in the public eye since 2019.


Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, gave ruling parties more time on Friday to form a new government, after the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

Coalition parties Italia Viva, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement must come to an agreement to allow the government to heal. 

Renzi, a former prime minister himself, has pubilcly stated that he does not want to talk about who should lead the next government at this stage, reasoning that the parties need to agree on a way forward first.

“Any effort today to fuel a discussion about Draghi is offensive to Draghi and above all to the president of the republic,” Renzi said in an interview published on Sunday with Corriere della Sera.

A senior Italia Viva lawmaker also told Reuters that “If the president gives a mandate to Draghi, we would certainly support this”. 

Renzi, whose party is not even registering three percent support in opinion polls, quit the coalition over Conte’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his plans for spending more than 200 billion euros from a European Union fund to help Italy’s damaged economy.

READ ALSO: Why do Italy's governments collapse so often?

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