Israel, Greece agree to establish disaster force


ATHENS, Greece (JTA) — Israel and Greece agreed to set up a regional force to deal with natural disasters following a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

Avigdor Lieberman arrived in Greece Wednesday on the first official visit by an Israeli foreign minister in 15 years.

Greece said it would organize the regional force and has invited the Palestinian Authority and other countries in the region such as Turkey, Egypt and Jordan to join the effort, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The force comes on the heels of the Carmel Forest fire in northern Israel last December; Greece was among the countries to assist in quelling the blaze.

Lieberman told his Greek counterpart Dimitris Droutsas on Wednesday that he “wishes Greece would help with Israel’s dispute with its neighbors.”

Asked about the comment, Lieberman told JTA, "I will not elaborate, but I will say that Israel is enjoying the good offices of Greece.”

The ministers agreed that in two months the country’s cabinets would hold a joint meeting to help set up joint joint committees in the areas of energy, environment and technology.

They reportedly also discussed the Exclusive Economic Zone with Cyprus and how Greece can participate in the Leviathan natural gas reserve.

Lieberman visited the Athens Jewish community and laid a wreath at the Jewish Holocaust memorial.

Recommended from JTA