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PD candidate says sorry for saying Israel doesn't exist

Centre-left party says its position on Israel is clear

(ANSA) - ROME, AUG 19 - A centre-left Democratic Party (PD) candidate in the September 25 general election has been forced to apologize for saying that Israel does not exist "like aliens".
    Raffaele La Regina, 29, who leads the PD ticket for the Lower House in the southern Basilicata region, made the remarks in past Facebook posts reported by conservative daily Il Giornale Friday.
    In a press conference at PD headquarters in Rome, Regina apologized for "using the wrong words" and added "Ia have never called into doubt the legitimacy of the state of Israel, nor its right to exist".
    PD leader declared the case closes, thanking La Regina for "words that end a row which (Berlusconi family daily) Il Giornale decided to stir up".
    Earlier in the day the president of Rome's Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, said "if we have to read theses of hatred that deny Israel's right to exist then we have a big problem".
    As well as the Facebook post citing aliens, La Regina also tweeted other remarks against Israel.
    PD sources said "the PD's position on Israel is well-known.
    "The two tweets and the (Facebook) meme of Raffaele La Regina, dating back to when he was not a PD candidate and did not represent the PD, do not in any way reflect the work and the stances of the Democratic Party in these years, deployed in defence of the state of Israel's right to exist, its security, and the (Mideast) peace process".
    photo: PD leader and ex-premier Enrico Letta (ANSA).


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