The final date to restart tourism will depend on the number of coronavirus cases in each country.
“Over a million Israelis go to Greece every year,” Netanyahu said. “This is an expression of Israelis’ love for Greece.”
Mitsotakisis emphasized the importance of opening his country to incoming tourism.
Tourism accounted for 25.7-30.9% of Greece’s GDP in 2018, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation’s research department, and 90% of tourism revenue came from abroad.
“We are working hard to ensure tourists are safe,” Mitsotakisis said.
The EU is expected to allow member states to open their borders to other countries on July 1, and Greece sought an agreement with Israel to come into effect by that date. Greece sought reciprocity with Israel, by which people flying to Israel from Greece – including Israelis returning from vacation – will not have to go into a two-week quarantine upon arrival.
Mitsotakisis also warned about Turkish actions in the Mediterranean, which he called “blatant provocations.”
“We discussed this matter extensively,” Mitsotakisis said. “We discussed the instability Turkey is causing, including in its actions in Libya.”
Turkey, which backs the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, has secured a foothold in Libya by helping to repel an assault on the capital by the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, who is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.
A Turkish source said on Monday that the Tripoli government was discussing possible Turkish use of two military bases in Libya, with a view to establishing a lasting Turkish presence.
Netanyahu welcomed Mitsotakisis to Jerusalem for the fourth Israeli-Greek government-to-government meeting. The Greek delegation includes six ministers: defense, foreign affairs, tourism, energy, environmental protection and water, as well as development and investments, indicating a strong focus on economic matters for the visit.
“This is our first government-to-government event in the age of coronavirus. This shows how well we fought it and our deep friendship,” Netanyahu said.
Among the ministerial meetings was one between Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz with his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos.
Gantz underscored that Greece is “a strategic partner and true friend” of Israel. The ministers discussed expanding defense cooperation and joint defense industries projects.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
The ministers signed agreements to promote cooperation in cybersecurity, energy, agriculture and tourism.
Ashkenazi thanked Dendias for Greece’s support for Israel and said he will act to strengthen the partnership between the countries.
A diplomatic source said ahead of the visit that Netanyahu would ask his Greek counterpart to help moderate the EU’s response to the possibility that Israel will extend its laws to parts of the West Bank.
The source said Greece is unlikely to change its position opposing the move, but that they could join other countries that have promised to block economic sanctions and could play a role in softening the EU’s statements criticizing Israel.
“Greece is not militant and we expect them to help us,” the source said. “We want the EU to have a dialogue with us and not sanctions or declarations threatening to punish us.”
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to visit Israel next Wednesday to discuss similar topics.
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