Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to congratulate him, while World Jewish Congress leader Ronald Lauder issued a statement that the new Greek PM is “a true ally of Israel and has always demonstrated deep support and friendship for the Jewish community in Greece.”
Israel, however has not been so welcoming of Makis Voridis, the new Greek Agricultural Development and Food Minister, according to Israeli media reports slamming the minister for his “anti-Semitic past”.
Mr Voridis renounced anti-Semitism on Saturday by stating that he has never been anti-Semitic, though he admitted that he had been a member of nationalist parties and organisations for many years and that he had also “coexisted politically with people that had such unacceptable ideas.”
“To resolve any doubts, therefore, I denounce all action, omission or tolerance on my part to the act of a third party that might be interpreted as anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi,” he said.
Mr Voridis made his statements following the request of the General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Victor Eliezer, whom the new minister said had “called on me to publicly denounce by anti-Semitic past”.
The new minister outlined his beliefs during a radio interview: “I also wish to notify Mr Eliezer of the following, hoping to assuage the concerns he expressed: 1. As a member of the parliamentary assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in consultation with my colleagues in the Knesset, I have for three successive years proposed the rejection of the Palestinian Authority’s request to become a member of the parliamentary assembly and unremittingly and systematically supported the condemnation of anti-Semitism. My Israeli colleagues know this; 2. I have spoken in parliament against the so-called antiracist law, recognising as its only positive point the penalisation of denial of the Holocaust; 3. I am the only Greek politician that has written articles in support of transferring the Greek Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; 4. I am the only Greek politician that has supported the signing of a defence and not just a strategic alliance with Israel; 5. I am the only Greek politician that has adopted a position against Israel’s condemnation for the incidents in Gaza. In light of these, I hope that his concerns have been alleviated.”
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