On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Greece to support Israel during voting at the UN. The Israeli prime minister made the request during a meeting in Jerusalem with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
During the discussion, the pair addressed a variety of regional issues, including energy security and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
Several other senior ministers also attended the meeting. In recent years, Greece and Israel have continued to deepen their partnership and cooperation on many economic, political, and security issues.
Israel requests Greek support at the UN
Netanyahu’s request makes sense given Israel’s diplomatic position. According to The Times of Israel, “The United Nations General Assembly passed more resolutions critical of Israel than against all other nations combined in 2022.” As a result, a sense of diplomatic isolation may have motivated the request.
In December, Greece abstained from voting on a proposed UN General Assembly resolution that would prompt the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”
Greek and Israeli relations
The meeting was in keeping with a sustained trend of increasingly positive relations between Greece and Israel. It presented an opportunity for Netanyahu and Dendias to discuss a myriad of issues.
One important area discussed was Greek and Israeli energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece, Israel, and Cyprus cooperate closely on natural gas extraction from the Tamar, Leviathan, and Aphrodite gas fields.
During the meeting, Israeli National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegb was instructed by Netanyahu to facilitate a future trilateral meeting between the leaders of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus. The three countries also cooperate with the US on energy issues in the region via the 3+1 format.
Several additional senior Israeli officials were present at the meeting. The Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer; the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Tzachi Braverman; National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi; and the Prime Minister’s Military Secretary, Major General Avi Gil were in attendance.
The Israeli Ambassador to Greece Noam Katz and the Greek Ambassador to Israel Kyriakos Loukakis were also present at the meeting in Jerusalem.
Public statements from both Greek and Israeli officials following the meeting have been positive. “Concluding my visit today to Israel I am extremely satisfied,” Dendias said after the meeting. “What I retain as most important is the clear statement by the Israeli side in favor of the sovereignty & sovereign rights of Greece.
Concluding my visit today to 🇮🇱 I am extremely satisfied. What I retain as most important is the clear statement by the 🇮🇱 side in favor of the sovereignty & sovereign rights of 🇬🇷(Statement following my contacts in Israel). pic.twitter.com/XAJQ4NoLCl
— Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) January 31, 2023
The Israeli Ambassador to Greece Noam Katz also took to Twitter to say, “The visit reaffirmed our strategic ties. The sky is the limit for their further development,” after the meeting.
Honored to be part of the visit of the #Greece 🇬🇷FM @NikosDendias to #Israel 🇮🇱 where he met FM @elicoh1, @IsraeliPM @netanyahu & President @Isaac_Herzog. The visit reaffirmed our strategic ties. The sky is the limit for their further development.
📷Avi Hayun, @IsraelMFA pic.twitter.com/RojVaHmLHB
— 🇮🇱 Noam Katz (@NoamKatz_) January 31, 2023