Greece

Arms Sold:

Additional Arms:
Thunder B, Litening, Over the Horizon (OTH), Flight Training School, Drone-Dome System, M-346, Predator, RCNWS, ELOP

Companies:

Additional Companies:
Israel Shipyards,
SK Group,
Cytrox,

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Greece

Introduction

Israel and Greece are strong collaborators in aspects of military, intelligence, economy and culture. They are part of the “Energy Triangle”, that refers to the extraction of gas from Israel and Cyprus to Europe through Greece. Greece and Israel maintain strong military cooperation around joint army exercises and the share of intelligence information. Israel exported among others drones and missile boats to Greece.

Israel – Greece Relations

Israel and Greece consider each other as strong collaborators in the aspects of military, intelligence, economy and culture. Both countries are part of the “Energy Triangle”, which referred to the extraction of oil and gas from both Israel and Cyprus, which will be delivered to mainland Europe with a pipeline through Greece, signed by an agreement between the three countries on January 2020.[1]European Security and Defence : Military Cooperation between Israel, Greece and Cyprus

In 2022 foreign ministers of Israel, Greece and Cyprus hold a trilateral meeting in Athens. Israel’s foreign minister declared after the meeting that Israel, Greece and Cyprus will continue to cooperate on natural gas projects, including exporting gas to Europe.[2]Azernews : Israel, Greece, Cyprus agree to continue energy cooperation

Israel and Greece have international trade and economic agreements on avoidance of double taxation and on Research and Development (R&D). At 2019 Israel was number 32 in the list of countries exporting to Greece with exports worth of $307,03m. Products that are being exported to Greece are among other things mineral fuels, oils, machinery, boilers, plastics, iron and steel and chemicals.

In January 2022, the European Union has earmarked 657 million euros ($736 million) for the construction of a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable that will link the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece.[3]EU to fund construction of Israel, Cyprus, Greece electricity cable link

Military Relations

Greece and Israel have developed strategic ties in the areas of defense and energy, while ongoing cooperation between the two countries’ military leaderships in exchanging information on potential threats and carrying out joint exercises.

In April 2014 the Israeli Army and Ministry of Defense opened a military attaché office in Greece. Greece is one of only three countries that signed a “Status of Forces Agreement” (SOFA) with Israel. The agreement enables Israel in hosting Greek military forces in its territory or stationing Israeli military forces in the territory of Greece, as part of the military agreements and comprehensive security arrangements between the two countries.[4]Israel, Greece sign status of forces agreement

On September 2017 the Hellenic Navy and Israeli Navy signed an agreement to commit further cooperation in their shared security and strategic goals.[5]IDF official website : Military cooperation 2017 Israel Greece

In November 2017, a meeting of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos with his Israeli counterpart,  Avigdor Lieberman occurred. At the meeting, the decision was made to further expand the cooperation between Greece and Israel in the military sector.[6]Tsipras – Netanyahu: An “excellent alliance”…/

At 2019 Israel and Greece published their plan to build an Israeli advanced long-range naval radar system (OTH) on the Greek island of Crete. With a combination of UAVs the radar system will be capable of monitoring an area with a radius of 600km.[7]European Security and Defence : Military Cooperation between Israel, Greece and Cyprus

Greek ONEX Neorion Shipyards and Israeli Shipyards have signed a cooperation agreement for the construction of next generation corvettes. The agreement was signed during the visit by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek Prime Minister, to Israel on June 2021.[8]Israeli-Greek Naval, Air Force and Defence Industry Cooperation

In July 2020, 90% of the Greek bus and military vehicle manufacture Hellenic Vehicle Industry (ELVO) were acquired by two Israeli companies, SK Group and Plasan. Plasan is owned by Kibbutz Sasa, specializes in vehicle protection and armored tactical vehicles.[9]Ekathimerini : Israeli venture set to land Hellenic Vehicle Industry

Since 2010 more than 16 diplomatic visits were documented, including visits of the prime ministers, presidents, Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs and Greek and Israeli military chiefs.

There is also documentation of Greek police delegations visiting Israel with the key focus of learning methods of security at ports and other transport hubs.[10]Tovima : Visit of Greek officers of EL.AS. and Coast Guard in Israel

In September 2020, the Greek Defense Ministry announced negotiations with Elbit on modernization and rearmament (especially Apache helicopters, F-16 and Mirage-2000) of the Greek Air Force estimated at several tens of millions of euros.[11]Israel arms and modernizes the army of Turkey’s main enemy/

In December 2020 Greece and Israel have finalized an agreement to open a new international flight training school in Kalamata, Greece. Elbit will set up the flight school that will include a combat simulator called the Mission Training Center (MTC) similar to the one it provided to the Israeli Air Force in 2013. The deal will be carried out over 22 years.[12]Elbit planning to set up flight training school for Greek Air Force  Finally, Israel signed the major defense deal with Greece worth $1.65 billion on April 18th, 2021.[13]Israeli-Greek Naval, Air Force and Defence Industry Cooperation

In June 2022 the Directorate of International Defense Cooperation of the Israeli Ministry of Defense (SIBAT) and the General Directorate of Defense Equipment and Investments of the Ministry of Defense (GDAEE) of Greece held a B2B (Business-to-Business) seminar in Athens, Greece. Representatvies of 15 Israeli companies and 35 Greek companies attended with the aim of promoting and expanding defense industrial cooperation.[14]Huffingtonpost : Israel – Greece business seminar on defense cooperation and equipment

In another official visit in June 2022 the General Chief of staff of the Hellenic National Defense visited Israel.  He met among others the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Ganz[15]Twitter: official visit of Hellenic National Defense General Chief of Staff in Israel and the Israeli chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi.[16]Twitter : Official Visist of General Chief of staff He visited among others the drone unit in the Air Force base Palmachim[17]Twitter : Palmachim visit , the Israeli Navy base Atlit[18]Twitter : Atlit visit, the Intelligence unit 9900[19]Twitter : Intelligence Unit Visit

Joint Army Trainings

  • 2010: Israeli and Greek air forces training in Greece.[20]BBC : Israel woos Greece after rift with Turkey
  • 2011: Israeli and Greek air forces training in Uvda Base in Israel
  • 2012: Israeli and Greek air forces training in the Peloponnese
  • 2013: Israel hosts “Blue Flag” Air Force exercise. Greece participates along with Italy and the US.
  • 2013: Israeli, Greek and American Navies in two-week joint military exercise Mediterranean.[21]Jpost : IDF begins joint naval exercise in Mediterranean
  • 2017: Greece hosts Navy exercise. Israel, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, the UK and the US participated.
  • 2017: Israel participates in “Iniohos 2017” in Greece along with USA, Italy and the United Arab Emirates.[22]Times of Israel : Israel, UAE to fly together in Greek air force exercise
  • 2018: Greece, the USA, Israel and Cyprus participated the aeronautical exercise “NOBLE DINA 2018.[23]Aeronautical exercise with the participation of Cyprus, Greece, USA and Israel
  • 2019: “Blue Flag” exercise in Israel. Greece, Germany, Italy and the US participated.
  • 2019: “Mighty Waves 2019” exercise hosted by Israel. Greece, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, NATO, UK, US and Chile participated.[24]MIGHTY WAVES 2019 : Joint training of Greece with Israel, the USA and France in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • 2019: “Noble Dina” exercise hosted by Greece. Israel, Cyprus and the US participated.
  • 2020:  a joint naval exercise was held between Greece, Bulgaria, and Israel.[25]AIES : Israeli-Greek Naval, Air Force and Defence Industry Cooperation
  • 2021: Joint Cyber Training was held between Israel, Greece and Cyprus in a military base in Israel.[26]IDF holds first-of-its-kind cyber-defense exercise with Greek, Cypriot armies
  • 2022: Joint naval exercise near the coast of Cyprus: Israel, Greece, France, Cyprus and the United States participated in the exercise.[27]IDF wraps up naval drill with Greece, France, Cyprus and US
  • 2022: Major international air force drill in Greece. Participated: Israel, Greece, Cyprus, United States, Canada, France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria. Egypt, Albania, Austria, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom, India, Kuwait, Croatia, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia sent observers to the drill, according to the Hellenic Air Force.[28]Israeli fighter jets touch down in Greece for major international aerial drills
  • 2022: Series of drills in and around Cyprus. Focus was training rescue operations. Participated: Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UK and France.[29]Israel joins 6 other countries in Cyprus to drill evacuations from conflict zones

 

Cyber Security

In June 2020, Israel and Greece signed a cooperation agreement on cybersecurity. The agreement includes conducting joint projects for enhancing national cyber platforms and cooperating on workforce training initiatives. It also includes increasing cyber resilience by sharing government cyber security know-how, best practices, legal and regulatory frameworks, methodologies, and strategic insights.[30]Israel, Greece sign cooperation agreement on cyber security

In November 2021 the Israeli army held a joint cyber training exercise with cyber experts from Greece and Cyprus  at the cyber simulator at the Gidonim base at Trzrifin military compound in Israel.[31]IDF holds first-of-its-kind cyber-defense exercise with Greek, Cypriot armies/

In April 2022 it was reported that a Greek journalist for CNN was targeted with the PREDATOR spyware, created by the Israeli firm Cytrox. The journalist, Thanasis Koukakis, was infected with the spyware between July and September 2021. PREDATOR is almost identical to NSO Group’s Pegasus in terms of its capabilities. Reports have suggested that the Greek Government may be a client of Cytrox. According to the report, there are 42 links [related to Cytrox] registered in Greece.[32]Haaretz : ‘Great Alarm’: First Detected Use of Mysterious Israeli Spyware on EU National

In August 2022 it was revealed by Israeli media that representatives of the European Parliament Committee of Inquiry on Pegasus spyware recently visited Israel and learned from NSO personnel that the company has active contracts with 12 of the 27 European Union members, including Greece.[33]Greek City Times : NSO Pegasus in Greece

Arms Fairs:

DEFEA 2021, Athens, Greece – Participated: Elbit (Defense minister of Greece visited Elbit booth)[34]At DEFEA 2021, defense minister of Greece visits Elbit , IAI (showcased among others Barak MX Air & Missile Defense System, loitering munition capabilities, flagship MMR radars and more)[35]IAI unveils latest loitering munition at DEFEA in Greece, Camero-Tech, Double Shoot, Emtan-Karmiel, Israel Shipyards, IWI, Meprolight, Nir-Or, Rafael, SK-Group, Smartshooter, Uni-Scope, Uvision, Aeronautics, Aitech.[36]Omega research foundation : DEFEA 2021

ISDEF 2022, Tel Aviv, Israel – delegation of Greek Chamber of Commerce visited.

Usage of Arms

  • Heron UAV – Greece currently operates two Israeli-made IAI Heron drones out of Skyros Air Base in the Aegean Sea. [37]overtdefense : Greek Parliament to Set Aside Budget for MQ-9s/
  • DroneDome System – implemented over islands and other important sites across Greece.[38]Forbes : Greece Is Deploying Israeli Systems To Counter Turkish Drones
  • Sa’ar 4.5 patrol boat – in use by Hellenic Coast Guard.
  • Predator – 42 links by Cytrox’ spyware were registered in Greece. Greek journalist was targeted by the spyware in 2021.[39]Haaretz : ‘Great Alarm’: First Detected Use of Mysterious Israeli Spyware on EU National

Human Rights Violations

Greece continues to host large numbers of asylum seekers while failing adequately to protect their rights. As of December 2019, more than 40,000 asylum seekers[40]Amnesty – Greece Report 2021, the majority women and children, were on the Greek islands, including more than 33,400 in camps designed to host around 6,200.[41]HRW World Report 2020- Greece Greek policy continued to trap thousands in overcrowded and abysmal conditions on the islands. People in camps continued to face insanitary conditions, lack of proper medical care and violence, including based on gender. There is evidence of Greece blocking asylum seekers who arrive on the Aegean islands from moving to the mainland. In addition, there are allegations of pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border. Advocates demand an investigation as refugees report violence by Greek police — including incidents in which masked men pushed people back across the border.[42]Deutsche Welle : Refugees report inhumane treatment by Greek border police Amnesty International reported in the first quarter of 2020 about asylum-seekers and migrants being killed and abused at the Greek-Turkish borders. Greek border forces reportedly fired live ammunition and tear gas against asylum-seekers and migrants.[43]Amnesty : Greece/Turkey: Asylum-seekers and migrants killed and abused at borders/

The European Court of Human Rights ruled twice in 2019 that Greece is in violation of its human rights obligations by detaining unaccompanied children in so-called protective custody in police station cells and detention centers.

Allegations of excessive use for force, torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials persisted. In the last quarter of 2019, there was a spike in reports of such incidents against individuals during arrest and detention, journalists and students. Greece has seen an alarming rise in police violence, amid reports of unprovoked attacks by officers that have seen protesters beaten with batons and people strip-searched in broad daylight.[44]Amnesty – Greece Report 2021/

References
1 European Security and Defence : Military Cooperation between Israel, Greece and Cyprus
2 Azernews : Israel, Greece, Cyprus agree to continue energy cooperation
3 EU to fund construction of Israel, Cyprus, Greece electricity cable link
4 Israel, Greece sign status of forces agreement
5 IDF official website : Military cooperation 2017 Israel Greece
6 Tsipras – Netanyahu: An “excellent alliance”…/
7 European Security and Defence : Military Cooperation between Israel, Greece and Cyprus
8 Israeli-Greek Naval, Air Force and Defence Industry Cooperation
9 Ekathimerini : Israeli venture set to land Hellenic Vehicle Industry
10 Tovima : Visit of Greek officers of EL.AS. and Coast Guard in Israel
11 Israel arms and modernizes the army of Turkey’s main enemy/
12 Elbit planning to set up flight training school for Greek Air Force
13 Israeli-Greek Naval, Air Force and Defence Industry Cooperation
14 Huffingtonpost : Israel – Greece business seminar on defense cooperation and equipment
15 Twitter: official visit of Hellenic National Defense General Chief of Staff in Israel
16 Twitter : Official Visist of General Chief of staff
17 Twitter : Palmachim visit
18 Twitter : Atlit visit
19 Twitter : Intelligence Unit Visit
20 BBC : Israel woos Greece after rift with Turkey
21 Jpost : IDF begins joint naval exercise in Mediterranean
22 Times of Israel : Israel, UAE to fly together in Greek air force exercise
23 Aeronautical exercise with the participation of Cyprus, Greece, USA and Israel
24 MIGHTY WAVES 2019 : Joint training of Greece with Israel, the USA and France in the Eastern Mediterranean
25 AIES : Israeli-Greek Naval, Air Force and Defence Industry Cooperation
26 IDF holds first-of-its-kind cyber-defense exercise with Greek, Cypriot armies
27 IDF wraps up naval drill with Greece, France, Cyprus and US
28 Israeli fighter jets touch down in Greece for major international aerial drills
29 Israel joins 6 other countries in Cyprus to drill evacuations from conflict zones
30 Israel, Greece sign cooperation agreement on cyber security
31 IDF holds first-of-its-kind cyber-defense exercise with Greek, Cypriot armies/
32 Haaretz : ‘Great Alarm’: First Detected Use of Mysterious Israeli Spyware on EU National
33 Greek City Times : NSO Pegasus in Greece
34 At DEFEA 2021, defense minister of Greece visits Elbit
35 IAI unveils latest loitering munition at DEFEA in Greece
36 Omega research foundation : DEFEA 2021
37 overtdefense : Greek Parliament to Set Aside Budget for MQ-9s/
38 Forbes : Greece Is Deploying Israeli Systems To Counter Turkish Drones
39 Haaretz : ‘Great Alarm’: First Detected Use of Mysterious Israeli Spyware on EU National
40 Amnesty – Greece Report 2021
41 HRW World Report 2020- Greece
42 Deutsche Welle : Refugees report inhumane treatment by Greek border police
43 Amnesty : Greece/Turkey: Asylum-seekers and migrants killed and abused at borders/
44 Amnesty – Greece Report 2021/