One of Italy's most prominent Jewish figures is at the center of the latest round of scandals surrounding Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Journalist, author and TV personality Gad Lerner, host of a popular late-night Italian TV talk show called "The Infidel" on the independent La7 channel, was berated live on air by the premier earlier this week. Late Monday night, a furious Berlusconi called in to the show and let loose a barrage of insults against Lerner and the program, which had centered on Berlusconi's allegedly improper relations with underage women. He blasted the show as "a disgusting program with vile, obscene, repugnant presentation. A bawdy-house.”
Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fended off challenges from the left and the right to narrowly survive two no-confidence votes in Parliament. Protests broke out Tuesday in the streets of Rome following the vote, and the country's political future remained unclear. With the revolt by former ally Gianfranco Fini, Berlusconi does not hold a clear enough majority in Parliament to govern effectively, and some analysts predicted that the embattled prime minister might resign and call early elections.