Greece and Israel: Reluctant Allies

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The recent official state visit to Greece by Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon signified a drastic upturn in the relationship between Greece and Israel. And while neither Israel nor Greece considers Turkey officially as an enemy state, clearly the deterioration in the relationship between Ankara and Jerusalem provided the impetus for the tightening of relations between Greece and Israel.

There is a universally accepted maxim in the Middle East: “Your enemy’s enemy is your friend.” For Israel that friend used to be Turkey – whose enemies were the Arabs.  As Turkey Islamized under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it turned against Israel.  As for the Greeks, the Turks have been their perennial enemies, albeit, they are both NATO members.  The island of Cyprus, invaded by Turkey in 1974, was subsequently split between the Greeks and Turks and is a constant source of friction.  Greece has supported the Greek majority in the south of the island, while Turkey supports the Turkish minority in the northern part of the island. It is under these circumstances that Israel and Greece have finally found common ground, and mutual interest in a strategic alliance.

Years of stagnation in Greek-Israeli relations was temporarily halted when the two countries signed a military agreement in December 1994; however both sides refrained from activating the agreement.  Greece worried about alienating the Arab world, while Israel was concerned about upsetting Turkey.  In 1997 Greece and Israel agreed on joint naval maneuvers; however the Greeks decided to postpone them at the last moment.  The events of September 11, 2001, and the rise of Islamism in the Middle East and the Balkans made it imperative for Greece to consider a strategic partnership with Israel. Sharing intelligence with Israel would, by all accounts, increase Greece’s security.

Israel and Turkey had considerable trade exchanges for many years (most recently in 2009 with $1.5 billion in exports to Turkey and $1.8 billion in imports from Turkey) with along with maintaining strong military ties.  In the meantime, Greece has been catering to Arab investors from Lebanon and the Gulf.  Not only did Greece trade heavily with the Arab world, more often than not it voted with the Arabs as well. The foreign policy of the Socialist Prime Minister of Greece, Andreas Papandreou sought to cultivate ties with the Arabs, especially terrorist groups like the P.L.O. and terror sponsoring states like Syria and Libya.  This, along with Israel’s close ties with Turkey, led to distrust between the two states.  The escalation in Turkish-Israeli relations following the re-election of Erdogan as Turkey’s Prime Minister, and his Islamist agenda, which sought close  relations and a leadership role in the Arab and Muslim world, laid the foundation to the new partnership between Greece and Israel.

Turkey’s growing influence in the independent states that were formerly Ottoman provinces worries the Greeks, while Turkey’s cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran concerns Israel. Both Greece and Israel have come to realize that Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus might become a base for Islamic penetration of Europe.  Moreover, the newly discovered Israeli offshore gas fields offer another avenue of cooperation. Israel views Greece not only as a gas procurer, but also as a European hub, from which Israeli gas could be channeled and sold to Europe.

When Israel experienced one of its most devastating firestorms in the Carmel Mountains last year, Greece immediately sent special fire-extinguishing aircraft. The lifesaving skills of Israel Defense Forces rescue crews have proven themselves to Greece in their frequent fight against fires.

The loss of Turkish airspace for Israeli Air Force (IAF) training and maneuvers has now been replaced by Greece’s airspace.  Greece’s further distance from Israel provides an excellent opportunity for the IAF to train against Iranian targets.  In fact, three-years ago, joint exercises were conducted in Greece that involved scores of Greek and Israeli jets.

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  • James

    Interesting article.

  • Historian

    "Greece is hardly a significant player on the international chess-board." Greece is such a small nation , but Greeks control 20% of the worlds Shipping trade through their shipping ownership dominant position!

    • Marcus

      Most intereting indeed. I suppose in the main the registered office for these shipping companies will be found in Liberia and Pannama.

  • UCSPanther

    I think with the ideological change that Turkey is undergoing, Greece and Israel are going to find themselves with a mutual enemy as Turkey reverts to their Ottoman mindset.

    While Turkey may not be able to directly attack Israel, I suspect that they are more likely to get into a scrap with Greece and the other Balkan countries and people. The Balkan nations don't have much love for each other, but they all share a mutual hatred for Turkey.

  • AJ Matathias

    B"H
    The rediscovered friendship between Greece and Israel must be nurtured, even, especially during this direc economic crisis that the former is experiencing. Remaining on the path of constancy challenges the maturity of Greek diplomacy, as the new augmented governmental coalition includes elements of the religio-nationalist LA.O.S. Party, affiliated with far right-wing politics, associated with anti-Semitism. Let us remain calm, moderate, and hopeful that the close the two countries' alliance, under the approving gaze of the United States, will augur well for a future reconciliation with neighboring Turkey; a nation of 68 million cannot be ovelooked for long, after all.
    Prof. Asher J. Matathias
    Woodmere, NY -USA

    • Captain America

      professor, where did you learn international history, Harvard? pardon me, but it was the socialists under Papandreou who were antisemitic. They outed the CIA station chief in Atens, who was propmptly assassinated. They let the PLO use Athens airport to smuggle arms & hijack airplanes. It was the socialists who demonized Israel & supported child murderer Yasir Arafat & his PLO terrorist murderers.

  • ziontruth

    As an Israeli Jew, but speaking only for myself, I'm for friendship with Greece, but by now the Jewish State ought to have learned to stay away from any kind of alliances, with anyone. Friendship is good, but alliances carry the risk of entangling strings, as is now the case with the U.S.–Israel alliance.

    Suffice it here to say I support Greece's right to take back Constantinople and its former Anatolian territories much as Israel has the right to take back its currently Muslim-occupied lands. But both countries will have to do it alone. Alliances have that tendency to fail even when both sides are of sincere intentions (q.v. the delay of French aid the American revolutionaries because of the French king's troubles at home, a delay that nearly doomed the American side).

    • Francois

      I agree with you .Its time fire Greece to get back Constantinople .
      It’s the last piece of Europe forgotten .We took Spain ,Sicily ,south eastern from them .
      And they took back Algeria and and north Africa . The rekindle with the eastern Christian empire would be a great event of important historical meaning . I hope Israel ,Greece and Europe build a strong alliance .

      • period pie

        Greece take back Constantinople? That's crazy talk. I'm a proud Greek, and I don't even want that. Greece needs to work hard to bring its economy back on side, and protect the territory it has. Enough with delusions of grandeur. Isreal will never expand either – they can't even hold onto small strips of land like Gaza or the Golan Heights without so much unnecessary suffering and bloodshed.

        • period pie

          oops typo – Israel not Isreal

        • ziontruth

          "Greece take back Constantinople? That's crazy talk."

          I was talking theoretically, not suggesting Greece should do that. My main argument here was that I'm all OK with Greece duking out with Turkey if it comes to it but I don't want any sort of Greece–Israel alliance. As I said: Friendship is fine, but alliances should be avoided.

          "Isreal will never expand either – they can't even hold onto small strips of land like Gaza or the Golan Heights without so much unnecessary suffering and bloodshed."

          That's only because Israel has so far not exercised its right of booting all the Arab colonists from the lands it has acquired. Under good leadership, Israel can and will expand, and hold on to its land without challenge.

          As for Greece, you know what's right for you, and I won't presume to tell you otherwise. Well, apart from the general worldwide truth that you ought to outlaw Marxism, but that holds universally, that can be said for every country (including mine).

  • Mike

    An excellent article but it should have also outlined the improvements in the relations between Cypus and Israel. The presidents of Cyprus and Israel visited each other's contry and signed significant trade,cultural and military cooperation agreements. Israeli Appache helicopters in a joint exercise with Cyprus landed recently in Larncaca airport.The article has one mistake ….. “Israel will defend Greek oil drilling in Cyprus” .The oild drilling is taking place by Cyprus , not Greece, using Noble Energy (US company) in the Economic Zone of Cyprus in the SouthEastern meditteranean area

  • StephenD

    Don't forget the upcoming struggle that will be when Israel, with its technology, begins drilling and discovers huge quantities of oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus for Greece. Turkey will try to insist it is partly theirs. Greece will be a VERY strategic ally at that point.

  • aspacia

    Don't really know about this. Greece is economically tottering. Germany barely agreed to the bailout, and there are violent Greek riots regarding austerity. The Greek Prime Minister recently resigned. Frankly, Greece may be in a Catch 22. Austerity equally huge violent riots (crying babes must be paid for extra months of the work year, early retirement, and work 35 hours weekly)

    Frankly, I am not a big fan of Greece and its modern, lazy civilization and politics. They would throw Israel under the bus in a heartbeat.

    • bill

      It's a shame that the anti Greek stereotypes portrayed in the western media are being swallowed by many without regard to a proper understanding of the facts. This does little to assist Greece in finding solutions to its problems and I would have thought that the Israelis of all people, would be more alert and astute to swallowing naively, media driven stereotypes.
      With Turkey seeking to cement itself as the regional Islamic super power and making dubious territorial claims in the Aegean, the non Islamic nations in the region will forge closer ties which I suspect is why Israel and Greece has done so and in all likelihood, will continue to do so.

      • aspacia

        Exactly what fact are you alluding to, but never discuss.

    • Dimitrios

      Aspacia,

      "They would throw Israel under the bus in a heartbeat."

      Greeks would throw you under a bus in a heartbeat and I would be the first to do so…

      Pitty about your Greek (in origin) name. You might consider changing this as you are seemingly not worthy of it.

      • aspacia

        Ah, you know of Aspasia, an influential Greek woman. Yes, I know the Greeks would throw me/USA under the bus. Hence my agreement with this Administration not to help Germany fund the lazy, modern Greek civilization.

        35 hour work weeks indeed. Remember, U.S. citizens work more hours and have less vacation time than any other first world nation; this is why working U.S. citizens have more affluence then most of the world.

        What, you jealous–start working the way I work for and quit complaining.

        • Michalis

          Haha.. perhaps you should look at the statistics? According to EuroStat, the EU's official statistical agency, Greeks have consistently worked the most hours per week of all Europeans (and more than the Americans), and have fewer vacation days. Do your homework first, then comment.

          • aspacia

            Michaelis, I did my homework. Greeks work 33 hours a week, I checked. 1811 hours annually works out to far less than the 40+ hours than the USA.

          • bill

            According to OECD stat extracts, annual average hours worked by Greeks in 2010 = 2109 hours as compared to Germany = 1419 hours, US = 1778 hours, Israel (2009 stats) = 1889 hours. Greece was second highest behind Korea. At the end of the day, making racist generalisations about a people such as "greeks are lazy" etc, is to say the least, unhelpful to the debate. Greece does have structural problems with its economy and other political and social issues which I am sure in time, Greece will work through and find solutions.

          • aspacia

            My state were from 2009. According to OECD, these are incorrect. Here is the OECD link: http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=27359

            According to this link Greeks worked 2109 annually, and Americans worked 1778.

            I then went to us.gov for this link: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t18.htm

            Depending on the industry, the hours fluctuate. Evidently, both Greeks and Americans put in quite a bit of unpaid overtime.

            What sources can researchers trust? I am a high school English teacher, and according to this I only work 32.7 hours a week. I wish. I arrive on campus at 6 a.m., and usually do not leave until 3:30. This has been my easiest year, because I am team teaching with two other teachers.

            Regardless, I stand corrected.

          • Dimitrios

            Aspacia,

            It takes some courage to withdraw from a previous position when information comes to hand that your original assertions are unsupported.

            i commend you for having the courage to set the record straight.

            I never intended to justify the precarious position Greece finds itself in and the enormous sense of responsibilfity that lies with each and every Greek to redress the situation.

            You will find that Greece's harshest critics are well meaning Greeks. Notwithstanding international political developments, Greeks found themselves in their current predicament from many years of rampant corrption and maladministration.

            However, the difference is that the problems besieging Greece are not only confined to Greece as they affect much of the developed world.

            Best of luck with your teaching career. i hope some day you have the opportunity to visit Greece yourself and see for yourself the land that has inspired so much and from which there are countless references that you come across as a teacher.

          • aspacia

            What courage? I do not have a major ego, and, similar to all humans, I do err. Also, I should have relied on a valid source, instead of a quick Google find.

            At the moment I hate administration, pedagogy and how they are destroying my culture.

            Regards,

            aspacia

  • FriendofGaryCooper

    I agree with Aspacia. India will stand with Israel; but not particularly Greece; their lack of a strong work ethic says a lot about them.

    • Chris

      More ignorant stereotyping from people who know nothing of the Greeks.

      • FriendofGaryCooper

        Oh, I see….we aren't supposed to make ANY judgements about ANYONE,,,its "ignorant stereotyping." The facts show that Greek society is financially insovent, comatose and on the ropes; much of THAT because of the profligate spending of the Greek government; and the constant, disruptive demands of the special interest groups involved; without anyone giving back to society. I don't have anything against individual Greeks; but the first step in solving problems is to make some type of judgement .In any case, What you call "ignorant
        stereotyping is a d–n sight better than your pathetic moral relativism.

        • Michalis

          see my comment above regarding the EuroStat numbers on Greece, thanks so much

      • aspacia

        Chris,

        Okay, what was erroneous in the claims? BTW, ad hominem is considered a fallacy

  • Dimitrios

    "their lack [reference to Greeks] of a strong work ethic…"

    Stop spitting garbage Chris. What do you know about Greeks' work ethic you imbecile? You are just regurgitating what you hear in the media.

    Greece's tax evasion and associated economic mismanagement has nothing to do with Greeks' worth ethic per se.

    According to a recent OECD report (google it) Greeks come second in terms of most hours worked (behind South Korea). A recent study within the EU has affirmed the same with Greeks working more hours than anyone else in the EU zone.

    You are clearly confusing recent industrial action taken in response to financial austerity measures undertaken. Also, you're confusing a laid back Mediterranean lifestyle with laziness per se.

    Aside from all the above, this article is not about Greek productivity rather about Greece-Israel political ties.

    • aspacia

      Exactly how long is your work week, and how many months are your paid for your labor. I will nail the media sources regarding their misinformation if untrue.

      Just found it. In 2009 the average Greek work year was 1811 hours, this totals 33 hours weekly. I repeat, Greek, nor any other first world nation comes close to that of the average U.S.worker, especially in management. I often had to work on Saturdays without overtime, and take my son and his friends in to work with me rather than hire a sitter.

      I repeat, compared to the U.S.A, Greeks are lazy.

      • Dimitrios

        Aspacia,

        For your information, The OECD reference to Greeks' working hours can be found in the below link:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time

        As according to the OECD study, Greeks have the second longest working hours. This flies in the face of your perceptions as shaped by the media.

        It is important to separate the truth from propaganda if you wish to make a cogent argument that is worthy for debate.

        In any event, the article to which we both commented makes no reference to the comparitive work hours of countries. It is merely an article about Greek-Israeli relations.

        I would not be comparing the Greeks to the Americans (USA) if I were you in regards to work practises for a plethora of reasons; not least, because they are two disparate nations. One is a tiny country of about 11 million with a small land area and without significant resources and the other is super power with over 300 million people and a land area that is the equivalent of 73 times that of Greece!

        • aspacia

          First, Wiki is not considered a valid source, besides it is biased. If you read further, you will discover the number of hours worked.

          Turkey will try to seize any of your potential, energy assets on any pretense. Good luck.

      • bill

        According to OECD stat extracts, annual average hours worked by Greeks in 2010 = 2109 hours as compared to Germany = 1419 hours, US = 1778 hours, Israel (2009 stats) = 1889 hours. Greece was second highest behind Korea. At the end of the day, making racist generalisations about a people such as "greeks are lazy" etc, is to say the least, unhelpful to the debate. Greece does have structural problems with its economy and other political and social issues which I am sure in time, Greece will work through and find solutions. If you want the link, let me know. No matter what facts are put before a racist, a racist will twist their perception and form an opinion to suit their racist point of view. Keep digging 'aspacia'.

    • aspacia

      Oh, nearly forgot, your are correct regarding corruption, and the average worker not reporting taxable property improvements and paying kickbacks to government officials. Our government workers are jailed for this, why aren't yours?

      • Dimitrios

        Aspacia,

        I was not seeking to analyse Greek corruption and/or political and economic maladministration except in the context of trying to bring to your attention that is a separate point of consideration to your subjective notions of Greeks' supposed laziness!

        Again, given your background as an American (possibly of Greek heritage?) you should be quite familiar with the systemic corruption that pervades your society at the very heart of its political system.

        Do you not consider a political system that depends on fund raising for the election of a president as not being conducive to corrupt practises? Can a seasoned politician accepting donations from the tobacco industry realistically be expected to go against the hand that feeds it and introduce anti-smoking legislation no matter how beneficial it may be to the wider community?

        Do you expect a political party funded by acute Israeli interests go against the perceived interests of the israeli state no matter how just the cause may be?

        Please spare me the lecture of morality and ethics as the US political system is hardly the ideal model of a just and transparent system free of corruption, nepotism, and the like!

        As for punishment of the perpetrators, what ever hand to the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Freddy Mae, Freddy Mac, Lehman Brothers, etc. What about the other war criminals and former US politicians who are believed by many to have engaged in war crimes against humanity?

        If the American system is so just and transparent and, if Americans are such good workers, ask yourself why are they in a perilous situation at the moment with debts comparable to the Greeks on a per capita basis?

        • aspacia

          Dimitrios,

          My point is that many Greeks are violently protesting the governments austerity measures. One of the protestors major complaints is the increase in work hours. To a U.S. worker, especially in the private sector a 33 hour workweek exhibits laziness.

          Yes, we do have corruption, and recently many banking rats were arrested for falsified foreclosure signatures. Blago, (attempted to sell Obama's Senate Seat) will be incarcerated for a very long time. Clinton lied under oath and was impeached. Yes, I am well aware of the corruption in our society, and the people demand punishment for corruption.

          The Wall Street bailouts for some and not others reveal how corrupt Obama is. Then there is the DOJ's fast and furious, and discrimination against whites favoring minority perpetrators. If something is found Holder and Napolitano will be tried. The O will probably skate just as Clinton did. I never said our government is transparent. Geez, Pelosi said they had to pass the Health Care bill before the people could read it. Oh, then there is the insider trading our leaders can make, but we the people can't. Frank is probably not running again because some facts emerged regarding his fingers being involved in the Freddi and Fannie mortgage meltdown, and he probably received a kickback.

          Economically, the U.S. situation is not anywhere as dire as Greece's, and you should know this.

          BTW, I am English, Scots and Basque.

          • Dimitrios

            Aspacia,

            Thank you for the detail in regards to Americal local politics, although slightly off topic here.

            Economically the US position is not as dire as the Greek position because the US is a superpower, has to this date the world's reserve currency, and can manipulate the financial landscape to suit its purpose from the vast political and economic leverage it has.

            Notwithstanding the above, however, the US debt burden has exceeded 17 trillion dollars which means that for every man, women, and child in the 350 million strong population the per capita debt levels are actually on par with those of the average Greek!

            That is merely the point I was trying to make. Of course, the US has more levers up its sleeve to address this into the future.

          • bill

            Aspacia
            We all know that the route of the current financial crisis emanated from the US and the proliferation of the ninja loans which by and large, was driven by people's greed to capitalise on illusory growth in the US housing bubble market, and the greed of bankers seeking their commissions etc to sell junk derivatiives/securities and the lax banking and corporate practices. Now, is it fair to generalise that all Americans are greedy because of the acts of a few that lead to the current financial crisis?
            Speculating on a housing bubble and peddling junk securities can hardly been seen as making an honest days work?
            So before you start throwing stones at the Greeks or any other country for that matter, look at the corruption and systemic problems in your own back yard before criticising others. You will soon find that human nature is what it is and making gross generalisations does nothing to resolve an issue. Many workers in Greece, are being asked to pay for the crimes of others. As was the US tax payer who were asked to bail out GM, and other corporations which were on the brink of collapse.
            The difference between Greece and the US is that the US has a larger economy and can print money to help provide liquidity to its economy so as to try and drive it out of a recession, where as Greece has no currency which it can control, and the value of its currency is artificially high as compared to its productivity because of the Euro being an average of all the EU countries which will always place in Greece as a debtor or trading deficit nation. Perhaps these are things you may not fully understand, but try and take the time to understand at least some of the issues, rather than immediately arrive at conclusions which are not supported by any facts and swallow the Western media's demonisation etc of the Greeks, which is little more than a smoke screen as to the true causes of the problem.

          • aspacia

            The cause of the mortgage meltdown stems from liberal groups protesting and threatening banks and their employees because those with poor credit could not receive loans. Barney Frank and his ilk were behind much of this Freddie and Fannie mess.

            The pressure built and the banks caved giving unethical, unfixed loans to these economically unsavy idiots.

            Many Americans were against the bailouts of GM and Wallstreet, especially me. I am against the Fed printing more money for the debt which is causing another stagflation.

            I am no economic expert, but I do read a great deal of European and ME news, hence my inaccurate conclusions regarding the Greek work week. Most of the number provided stem from international media, and regard public, not private employees. The public employees are paid for more weeks than what are in a year and receive far more paid overtime than in other industries.

          • bill

            It is easy to distance yourself and others from the mess that lead to a global meltdown around the world. But whilst you seek to distance yourself from the Fred and Fannie mess etc, you didn't extend the same courtesy to the Greeks, nor bother to differentiate the difference between Greeks that help cause the mess such as corrupt politicians, and foreigners that collaborated with them, from the vast majority of Greeks that had nothing to do with it. You just accepted on face value, as do many others around the world especially the Germans, that all Greeks are lazy and therefore want nothing to do with them, and that the Greeks deserve to suffer from the inhumane austerity measures imposed on them.
            The western mainstream media and those seeking to push their own agendas, seek to obscure the true causes of the problem in Europe. The Greeks are a very easy scapegoat.
            A little like the Nazis blaming the Jews for the woes of Europe arising from the great depression etc. You would think that the media would have learnt by now that it is unwise and potentially dangerous to demonise a people or race, but obviously not.

  • Dimitrios

    My apologies Chris… my comment above was directed at "FriendofGaryCooper"

  • Steve

    Considering the prevalent anti-Semitic position of the Greeks I wonder if one can speak of friendship http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/21/world/la-

    • Michalis

      Steve, only the most ridiculous extremists in Greece would be against the Jewish people. Many of us, myself included, question Israel's policies, and with good reason. However this does not equate to "anti-Semitism". We even question a lot of our own government's policies! Stop equating being anti-government to being against the people

  • Michalis

    Perhaps all those who are posting anti-Greek comments here should take a look at the heroism displayed by common Greeks during WWII, when we ourselves were under a brutal occupation by the pig Nazi Germans, yet we did our very best to protect the Jews from the Nazi barbarians. Please do some research on Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens as a starting point.

    The comments here against my people are disgusting and have gone way overboard. To all those commenting this vile and hiding behind their internet anonymity, show some class.

    • aspacia

      Very true. Watch Guns of Navarrone, pure fiction, but the Nazis did butcher many Greeks.

  • Guest

    Where is Turkish Cypriot airspace?.There is no legal country called Turkish Cyprus. The Entire island is one single sovereign nation but part has been under an illegal ethnic cleansing policy by Turkey. The entire island entered the EU in 2004 but the Sovereign nation of Cyprus is not responsible for human rights violations by Turkey and other contreventions of EU law in the part controlled by the Turkish Army.

  • Xanthippos

    The issue for Greek-Israeli relationships is whether or not there is the geopolitical common "ground" for them to become strategic or not, that is to be a steady long-term alliance or not. A short or mid term approach of the two countries doesn't really interest many other, than their policy makers which might have set such a time frame for their approach .

    So, the question is: "Are there the prerequisites for a strategic alliance between the two countries?" The answer is: "Propably yes!"

    1.The two countries are close enough (Eastern Mediterrenean basin), to have common interests but in the same time,far enough, so as these interests don't confict, that is in simple words,they don't share common borderlines, with all the implications that such a reality usually carries with it.

    2.They both don't really have any other stable ally in the region they can rely on,thus much overlooking the benefits of their approach.

    3.The Greece-Cyprus geogrphic "bow" is a potential corridor of high added economic and strategic value for the much geographically constrained Israel.

    4.The israeli military superiority in the Eastern Mediterranean region and its global diplomatic influence is potentially of utmost importance for Greece.

    5.The abscence of notable hostorical frictions between the two nations.

    6.The western culture of both nations which dipicts on their policy makers and their way of thinking in the long term (as a contrast to their surrounding islamic and profoundly religious societies which prove to produce unstable long term foreign policy directions that eventually can alter- Turkey, Egypt, Libya e.t.c)

    7.The historical perception of both nations for themselves as "very ancient ones" that has an obscure but critical influnce on setting their goals and quests in their foreign policy making in the long-term.

    All the above realities consist a common ground on which both countries can seek and build a strategic partnership in the Eastern Mediterrenean Sea.

    The above goal of course presents some current challenges to be met. An effective alliance requires that both countries are able contribute in it,with the most of their comparative advantages and potentials. Currently only Israel is the potential partner that can live up to the expectations of Greece. So,if there is to be a push to the build up of such an alliance, Greece has to put its pieces together and rise up to what it can do and offer.

    The whole approch seems like a promising oppurtunity. It remains to be seen if it can grow to a reality with flesh and bones.

  • DanaS

    Probably both sides always wanted to be allies… but the obstacles were bigger than their will to do so. Greece needs new alliances now. It's vital. But it's hard for any country to trust Israel. I mean look at the past of this country, its policy and tactics. And of course its deep and complected interference in US issues and conversely.

  • Prof. Botsas

    Marginal for Greece or for Israel? What French banks did Greece bring down? You are mixing up personal preferences with strategic alliances in Eastern Mediterranea.My surpise is why did the two countries that have the greatest commonality in history, traditions, and stability in the region took so long to form an alliance.

  • Dimitrios

    That's what they were saying about Greece's tiny economy and how that is a drop in the ocean to have any real affect on the planet until the sunami reigned havoc. This fear of a sunami style affect precipitated a new line of credit to Greece following the contagion fears of the European crisis becoming a global crises and plunging the world in a prolonged depression! Do not repeat the mistakes of countless others and make sweeping pronouncements on Greece's inferiority!

    okay, Greece is hardly a player on the world stage, but Israel is not excatly a country with an abundance of friends in the world stage. Some would even espouse the view that for Greece to 'befriend' Israel is for a self respecting kid in the school playground to befriend the school bully and turn his back to his former friends who are constantly being picked upon by the same bully in question!

    Aside from this consideration, Israel is a smaller country than Greece both by reference to the area of its land as well as by the might of its economy. As for the much talked about Israeli. Military machine, hey that's not all that more superior to Greece that would make combative exercises futile!

  • Dimitrios

    PLO terrorists? Are you kidding me? Is this what you call a rag tag army born in the shadows of Israeli occupation to free their homeland?

  • John of Chaldea

    Andreas Papandreou, the rabid, anti-American, socialist leader was too busy helping the PLO terrorists killing CIA agents & hijacking airplanes (he was Harvard educated, after all). Greece is an even worse "ally" than Turkey. He created the Greek welfare state which has run out of french banks' money. He was alos an admirer of the Soviet Union. Greek history was over 2000 years ago. It is now a marginal backwater.

  • dimitrios

    PLO terrorists? Are you kidding me? Is this what you call a rag tag army born in the shadows of Israeli occupation to free their homeland?

    Have you no idea about the Israeli terrorists like Shimon Perez in his hay day who would spam the world and engage in armed conflict to secure a state for Israel?

    What about the state sponsored activity that sees Israeli agents steal the identity of nationals of other countries through fake passports and engage in illegal activity abroad to assinate key opponents?

    Get real about what terrorism actually entails and which countries engage in it !