'We are two countries with ancient roots'

Netanyahu greets Greek PM Alexis Tsipras in Jerusalem, stresses the 'natural affinity' between eastern Mediterranean's two democracies.

Cynthia Blank,

Tsipras and Netanyahu
Tsipras and Netanyahu
Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to discuss extending bilateral cooperation on such issues as economy, technology, trade and agriculture.

After welcoming Tsipras to Jerusalem, Netanyahu praised the "growing and enduring partnership between Greece and Israel."

"We are two countries with ancient roots," the Prime Minister continued. "In many ways, our modern civilization in the West was forged in Athens and in Jerusalem, and we are – although we are ancient peoples, we embrace the future, we embrace modernity." 

"We're the two democracies in the eastern Mediterranean and we are obviously aware that we have a world of opportunities - of technology, of development, of progress - to seize and we can seize it better through cooperation.

"But equally we also understand that there are great challenges before us, especially very violent religious fundamentalism that seeks to sweep our world, is sweeping the Middle East, is sweeping North Africa and Europe and other parts of the world. And we have a common interest in seizing the opportunities and warding off the dangers."

Noting an increase in cooperation, and even tourism, between Israel and Greece, Netanyahu stressed "there is...a natural affinity between the Israelis and the Greeks. It's very obvious when you go to either country."

"We've just had a discussion. The Prime Minister of Israel sits on one side; the Prime Minister of Greece sits on the other side. And in some countries, when we have that, the leaders are the only ones who speak. Here, everyone speaks on both sides of the table. And this is what I'm talking about – a natural sympathy, a natural affinity."

Netanyahu expressed his faith in Tsipras' efforts to reform and build up the Greek economy and promised "to encourage Israeli investors to invest in Greece." 

"I welcome you here in the best of friendship and in the confidence that we can make our friendship grow even more in the coming years."




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