Italian Premier Enrico Letta says the economic crisis is feeding "the forces of extremism, hatred and intolerance" in Italy.

Letta made the comments during a visit to Rome's Synagogue on Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Letta pledged that "we will resist always the forces of violence, first verbal then physical, intolerance, xenophobia and racism, and these temptations that are a detriment."

The Italian leader attended the lighting of the menorah for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah with Netanyahu. Afterward, he expressed hope that the light would offer hope to Italy, "which needs it."

Netanyahu is on a visit to Italy, which will include a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.