Italy will never recognize a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said. Berlusconi at a celebration of Israel's 63rd birthday praised the Jewish state as the only democracy in the Middle East. He was the guest of honor Wednesday at an Israeli Independence Day reception hosted by Israeli Ambassador Gideon Meir.
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.”