In a day full of news in Greece, such as the swearing in of members of the government and the new crisis in Church-State relations, while the Coronavirus crisis continues, an important event is in danger of being lost in the back pages of the newspapers: the agreement between Greece and Israel for the creation of an Air Force School in Greece. It is essentially a $1.68 billion training center for the Greek Air Force, for 20 years.
Interestingly, the announcement of the agreement came from the Israeli Embassy in Athens.
The steps in favor of strengthening the readiness of the Greek Armed Forces taken by the Mitsotakis government, such as this agreement with Israel, and the purchases of aircraft and weapons systems, will take years to deliver.
They should have been made years ago by previous governments in order to be useful to the current confrontation with Turkey.
After all, our problems with Turkey did not arise yesterday.
But, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, looking ahead and knowing that these problems will not be solved in the near future, or that at least that not everything will be solved in the near future, is doing the right thing and equipping the Armed Forces so that the nation’s sovereign rights can be defended.
The agreement with Israel is important in many ways.
First, because the Greek pilots will be trained by some of the best in the world: the Israelis.
Second, because this agreement brings the two countries even closer in the critical sector of security.
Third, because it will increase quantitatively and qualitatively the general cooperation between Greece and Israel. It deepens, in a few words, the relationship of trust and alliance between the two countries.
And fourth, it further facilitates closer cooperation between our communities in the United States and elsewhere.
Unfortunately, valuable time was lost until the upgrades of the relations of the two countries, both due to the negative political climate that previously prevailed in Greece and the short-sighted, close cooperation of Israel with Turkey.
Close alliance with Israel does not presuppose Greece's being indifferent towards the plight of Palestinians. At the same time, however, the right of the state of Israel to exist cannot be questioned.
This agreement, therefore, will have beneficial effects for Greece, more than the next government reshuffling – small or large – or the next State/Church crisis. That’s why the news of this important agreement needs to be widely circulated.