Italy election: Former Israel PM Netanyahu's son Yair congratulates 'far-right' Giorgia Meloni
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son Yair congratulated 'far-right' leader Giorgia Meloni after exit polls showed her post-fascist party and its allies were set to win Italy's Sunday general election.
"Congratulations Giorgia Meloni and the conservative camp in Italy!" Yair Netanyahu tweeted soon after half-past midnight Israel time on Monday.
By that point, exit polls had indicated Meloni's Brothers of Italy party and its right-wing allies had secured from 41 to 45 percent of the vote, which would mean victory in both Italy's chamber and senate.
Meloni claimed victory in the elections early on Monday, saying the country had "clearly indicated" it wants a "centre-right government led by Brothers of Italy".
She proudly touts her roots as a militant in the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement, or MSI, which was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War alongside remnants of Mussolini's fascist supporters.
Meloni joined in 1992 as a 15-year-old.
Congratulations Giorgia Meloni and the conservative camp in Italy! 🇮🇱🇮🇹— Yair Netanyahu (@YairNetanyahu) September 25, 2022
During the campaign, Meloni was forced to respond after the Democrats used her party's origins to paint Meloni as a danger to democracy.
"The Italian Right has handed fascism over to history for decades now, unambiguously condemning the suppression of democracy and the ignominious anti-Jewish laws," she said in a multilingual campaign video.
Meloni, who has spoken out against what she calls "the LGBT lobby" and mass immigration, tries to play down her party's post-fascist roots and portrays it as a mainstream group like the UK's Conservatives.
She has pledged to back Western policy on Ukraine and not take risks with Italy's fragile finances.
Yair Netanyahu claims to be a "global pro-Israel lecturer" and "conservative activist" in his Twitter bio.
In 2019, he tweeted that there is "no such thing" as Palestine because the Arabic language does not have the letter "P".
His father Benjamin was pushed out as Israeli prime minister last year by a wide-ranging alliance of parties from across the country's political spectrum, though polls suggest he could be set for a return in an upcoming election.
The Likud party leader is a controversial figure widely disliked by Palestinians.
He previously pledged to annex Palestinian territory in the occupied West Bank to Israel, though ultimately halted the move allegedly to enable normalisation with the UAE.
Benjamin also said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was a "true friend of Israel", even though the European leader has faced allegations of anti-Semitism, including over comments about George Soros.
AP and Reuters contributed to this report.