Israeli Defense Minister Gallant strengthens strategic partnerships with Greece and Cyprus in face of Iranian threats

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with Greek defense officials, May 2023 (photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI/DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Israeli Defense Minister Gallant strengthens strategic partnerships with Greece and Cyprus in face of Iranian threats reports a editorial piece in the Jpost

The Israeli Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, recently visited Greece and Cyprus as part of a strategic partnership between the countries. Israel has formed close ties with these nations in recent years, collaborating in areas such as trade, energy, defense, and security. The partnership is part of a broader series of relationships, including NATO members and countries such as Egypt, India, and the UAE, all close partners of Israel. Gallant's visit to Athens and Cyprus is therefore essential for strengthening Israel's alliances in the region and worldwide.

During his trip, Gallant met with his Greek counterpart, Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, at the Hellenic Ministry of Defense, where he praised the bilateral ties between Israel and Greece and discussed intelligence cooperation that had prevented a terrorist attack in Greece. Gallant also raised concerns about Iran's nuclear weapons program and its global terror campaign, which has extended its threats to Greece and Bulgaria, among other countries.

Gallant's trip highlights the importance of Israeli ministers and leaders traveling abroad to meet with their colleagues. He emphasized industrial projects, intelligence sharing, and the flight school at Kalamata Air Base. Israeli defense companies have done significant work with their Greek colleagues, such as Rafael, which concluded a deal to sell anti-tank missiles to Greece.

Gallant's visit helps underscore the significance of expanding strategic ties with neighboring countries. The close relationship between Greece and Israel is seen as an anchor of stability in the region. The recent joint drills with US Central Command and naval exercises undertaken by Israel help cement naval partnerships across the swath of water between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.

In the coming years, Israel expects to see more partnerships with Greece and Cyprus, including more ministerial visits and trade and defense deals. The goal is to broaden ties with other partners in the Mediterranean, such as France, Italy, Egypt, and Turkey. While opportunities for greater peace and security in the region exist, there are actors that would like to upset that trend, particularly Iran. Gallant's trip signals to Israel's friends in the Mediterranean that it values their partnership and that Iran is not only a threat to Israel but also to Europe and the wider region.

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