Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed to Italy on Sunday for a two-day trip including meetings with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Netanyahu traveled to Italy in a delegation comprising several cabinet ministers for the annual "Government to Government" conference, which began with the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence in 2008. Joining Netanyahu were Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, Education Minister Shay Piron, Homefront Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat.
The prime minister and his wife, Sara, were scheduled to join the Jewish community along with Letta to light the candles for the fifth night of Hanukkah. The prime minister was set to meet for the first time with Pope Francis on Monday.
Meanwhile, Lieberman was also scheduled to travel to Washington and then on to Moscow, in a string of trips that mark his first since being reinstated as foreign minister following his acquittal of criminal charges.
Lieberman's trip to the U.S. comes after he said that Israel needs to seek additional diplomatic channels outside of Washington.
Lieberman was scheduled to depart Italy for New York on Sunday to meet with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He was also supposed to meet with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power. From New York, Lieberman would travel to Washington for the Saban Forum, where his participation was booked prior to his reinstatement as foreign minister.
Lieberman was then scheduled to travel to Moscow from Washington, to meet with a forum focusing on Israeli-Russian cooperation.