Israeli President Rivlin begins state visit in Greece

Rivlin began a three-day state visit to Greece, focusing on the Holocaust and cooperation between the two countries’ naval forces. 

By: World Israel News Staff

President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin landed in Greece on Sunday evening for a three-day visit, where they were given an official welcoming ceremony, including an honor guard.

On Monday, Rivlin will greet his counterpart, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, at a state reception in the presidential mansion, after which they will hold a working meeting. Rivlin is also slated to meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other senior officials.

Later in the day, Rivlin will address a ceremony held by the Jewish community of Athens, marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Israel’s head of state will also visit the city of Thessaloniki, where he will participate in a foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Museum to the Victims of the Holocaust and, together with Tspiras, plant a tree in their memory.

The Jewish community of Greece was almost completely annihilated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Among the few survivors of the Nazi camps, some chose to return to Greece, while others emigrated to Western Europe, America or Israel.

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Rivlin is also due to visit a Greek naval base, accompanied by Israeli Naval Commander General Eli Sharvit and the Greek Defense Minister and Chief of Staff. The cooperation between the two naval forces will be the focus of the visit.

In addition, President Rivlin will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Piraeus.

Ties between Israel and Greece have strengthened in recent years, and there is a strong collaboration between the two countries in several areas, including military, intelligence, economy and culture. The Israeli and Greek armies participate in annual navy exercises, and both countries are part of the Energy Triangle that includes Italy and Cyprus and calls for a potential undersea pipeline carrying natural gas from deposits in the eastern Mediterranean to Europe .