Last month’s Greek elections ended the far-left Syriza party’s control of the government and replaced it with the conservative New Democracy party. While Syriza once shared the hostility toward Israel common to the European left, its prime minister, Alexis Tsirpas, moved his country closer to Jerusalem, enhancing economic and even military cooperation. If anything, writes the former Israeli ambassador to Athens Arye Mekel, things will continue to improve under the new government headed by Kyriakos Mitsotakis:
Greek-Israeli relations have been greatly upgraded since 2010 and are now at their peak despite the frequent changes of government in Athens. There is no doubt that these relations, which include significant security cooperation, will improve even more in the era of Mitsotakis. It was his father who, as prime minister in 1990, raised ties with Israel to the ambassadorial level. The younger Mitsotakis visited Israel last year and publicly vowed to enhance relations even more if he were to be elected prime minister. He also met with Benjamin Netanyahu and made similar statements. . . .
Another welcome development is that the neo-Nazi Yellow Dawn party, which had eighteen members in the outgoing parliament, did not pass the minimum threshold of 3 percent [of the vote] and will be left without representation in parliament. The party is demanding a recount, but the chances of that happening are very small.
The new government does include one member with a problematic past: the minister of agricultural development and food, Makis Voridis. When younger, Voridis was an activist in far-right student organizations in Athens and London. . . . Later he joined . . . a far-right party whose leaders included such known anti-Semites as Konstantinos Plevris, the author of the book The Jews: The Whole Truth. . . . It can reasonably be assumed, [however], that Voridis’s presence in the government will have a negligible effect, if any, on the close and intensifying relations between Greece and Israel.