ATHENS (Nov. 26)
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy undoubtedly was anxious to show his gratitude for Greece’s vastly improved relations with Israel when he sought — and got — a meeting with Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis in Paris last week.
But some of his remarks, at least as reported by the Greek media, raised eyebrows here.
After congratulating the Greek prime minister on his electoral victory, Levy was said to observe, “You know, when democracy prevails, it is a victory for all us democrats.”
One Greek reporter who was there commented that “someone should tell Levy that before Mitsotakis, Greece did not have a dictatorship.”
The center-right New Democracy Party came to power in April after 10 months of a caretaker all-party coalition government, which had replaced the disgraced Socialist government of Andreas Papandreou. The Papandreou government, a democratic, albeit scandal-ridden regime, had sympathized with the Palestinian cause.
Mitsotakis lost no time elevating Greece’s recognition of Israel from de facto to de jure. The two countries, for the first time, have full diplomatic relations on the ambassadorial level.
Levy’s parting words to Mitsotakis were, “For us, your victory is a great pleasure, since we see in you not only a friend but also a person with whom we can exchange ideas.”
Mitsotakis replied, “That is for sure, Mr. Foreign Minister. I am a friend of your country.”