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Italy’s deputy PM visits Israel amid controversy

Italy’s deputy PM visits Israel amid controversy

JERUSALEM (Rahnuma): Italy’s far-right Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini arrived in Israel on Tuesday for a two-day visit, as Israeli activists plan to hold protests.

His trip started with a tour along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where the Israeli army has been carrying out an operation to uncover Hezbollah cross-border tunnels.

Salvini wrote on Twitter that he was flying by helicopter to see for himself the tunnels dug by “Islamic extremists.”

On Wednesday, Salvini, known for his hardline anti-immigration policy, is scheduled to visit Yad VaShem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum.

Israeli human rights activists’ have called for cancelling the visit due to Salvini’s “racist” stance against immigrants as they planned to hold a protest outside the museum.

Salvini will also meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the justice minister, and a lawmaker with the pro-settler party of the Jewish Home, Ayelet Shaked.

In an unusual move, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin will not meet the far-right leader. Local media widely reported that the president declined Italy’s request to arrange a meeting with Salvini, citing a tight schedule.

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