Global Insider: Israel-Greece Relations

Israel is increasingly turning to Greece to compensate for the decline in its relationship with Turkey. Israel recently held air force exercises in Greek air space, and the two countries have signed a civilian aviation agreement. In an e-mail interview, Efraim Inbar, professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, explains the growing relationship between Israel and Greece.

WPR: What is the historical military and political relationship between Israel and Greece?

Efraim Inbar: Politico-military cooperation between Greece and Israel is a new phenomenon. Greece has been one of the least-friendly states in the European Union toward Israel because of its traditional good relations with the Arab world and its desire to elicit support on the Cyprus issue. Leftist tendencies and latent anti-Americanism in Greece's domestic politics, as well as church interests in the Holy Land, did not facilitate good relations. Full diplomatic relations were only established in 1990, and the strategic partnership between Israel and Turkey in the 1990s prevented closer bilateral relations fromd eveloping.

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