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Israel-Hellenic Forum to convene in Cyprus

The democracies of the Eastern Mediterranean seek to advance their partnership.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides meet in Jerusalem, May 11, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides meet in Jerusalem, May 11, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Senior government officials from Israel, Greece and Cyprus will convene in Nicosia next week to further cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Israel-Hellenic Forum will meet amid blossoming relations between the three countries over the last decade and a half in a variety of fields including tourism, medicine, cybersecurity, energy and military cooperation.

The three-day gathering, which will be attended by 40 leading Greek, Cypriot and Israeli figures and headed by the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, is being organized by the B’nai B’rith World Center in cooperation with the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs, the University of Nicosia and the Institute of International Relations (IDIS) at Panteion University in Athens. 

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Greek National Security Adviser Thanos Dokos and Cypriot Defense Minister Michalis Giorgallas are scheduled to attend the event.

The gathering will include plenary sessions on defense and energy cooperation as well as the impact of the war in Ukraine on the Middle East.

The conference comes as construction is underway on an “electricity highway” that will connect the national grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece.

The mammoth European Union-backed energy project is proceeding as the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia are fueling a global energy crisis that has hit the E.U. hard, spotlighting the union’s dependence on foreign sources.

The forum is being held in Cyprus for the first time after taking place in Jerusalem four years ago and then in Athens last year.

“The Israel-Hellenic Forum Nicosia Plenary will undoubtedly be a watershed event, coming shortly after the general elections in Israel, Cyprus and Greece,” said B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider, who initiated the forum.

“I have no doubt that together we will advance relationships between leading public figures and the public at large in the three liberal democracies of the Eastern Mediterranean.”

The event comes two months after legislators from the United States, Greece, Cyprus and Israel met via video conference to advance ties, and reaffirmed their commitment to the security and prosperity of the three allied countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The 3+1 inter-parliamentary group meeting followed the passage of bipartisan legislation put forward in the U.S. Senate that significantly bolsters American support for Greek military modernization as well as increased multilateral engagement among Cyprus, Greece, Israel and the United States.

A separate trilateral summit between the leaders of Greece, Cyprus and Israel is planned for later this year.

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