Protests will be held next week during the visit to Israel by Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on December 11-12. The neo-facist Salvini, who leads the far-right Northern League, is known for his racist positions on immigration and his opposition to accepting asylum requests. Salvini also stirred protests when he vowed to take actions to expel all the Roma people living in Italy.
In June, Salvini refused to let the search-and-rescue vessel Aquarius dock in Italy after it had pulled refugees from the sea close to the Libyan coast. At the time, the ship was carrying 629 migrants, including 134 unaccompanied minors, seven pregnant women and several people in critical condition as result of hypothermia. The ship was eventually allowed to dock in Spain and was accepted by the Spanish government. On September 24, 2018, the Italian Council of Ministers approved the so-called “Salvini decree,” which contains a series of hardline measures that will abolish key forms of protection for migrants and make it easier for them to be deported from Italy. The decree will also suspend the refugee application process for those who are considered “socially dangerous” or who have been convicted of a crime
In recent years, the far-right Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has grown closer to leaders associated with far-right views and parties such as the US, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, the Philippines and Brazil. Last Thursday, Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, told CNN “combatting anti-Semitism by forming coalitions with neo-fascist movements is impossible.”