Greece Swings from Left to Right, but Its New Friendship with Israel Is Likely to Remain Stable

July 23 2019

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.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Anti-Semitism, Greece, Israel diplomacy

 

Distrust of the Supreme Court Led Likud Voters to Rally around Netanyahu

Jan. 17 2020

A few weeks ago, Benjamin Netanyahu handily won the Likud party’s primary election, receiving 72 percent of the votes. He won despite the fact that he is facing indictments on corruption charges that could interfere with his ability to govern if he remains Israel’s premier, and despite the credible challenge mounted by his opponent, Gideon Sa’ar. Evelyn Gordon credits the results not to love of Netanyahu but to resentment of Israel’s overweening Supreme Court:

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli politics, Israeli Supreme Court