President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Democracy and geography appeared to be the common denominators between Israel and Greece, when Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias called on President Reuven Rivlin at his official residence on Tuesday.
Kotzias ambled in with a loud and cheery “Good morning” to Israeli media and “Kali mera” to Greek media.
In greeting him, Rivlin said: “The Israeli people see what is happening in Greece and we share in your pain.”
Rivlin, who advocates for democracy in almost every speech that he delivers, hailed Greece as “the birthplace of democracy,” adding, “We have seen over the last days the power of the democratic voice. The true sovereign of any country is the people, and your people have made their voice heard. We hope that a solution is found that is acceptable to all sides.”
Rivlin emphasized that in recent years, the relationship between Israel and Greece has become stronger, and instanced the help that Israel received from Greece during the fire disaster in the Carmel Forest in December, 2010.
“We understand today more than ever, that the world is getting smaller. What happens in one region affects people living across the world,” he said. “This is true of the economy, this is true when we speak about the environment, and it is true when we speak about the threats of fundamentalism.”
Stressing this commonality Rivlin declared:“Together, all humanity, share a common future and we must work to try and shape it together. This is our duty and it is our responsibility to our children and grandchildren.”
Noting that both Greece and Israel are ancient peoples, living in close proximity, Kotzias said “The whole western world is based on our cultures and traditions, but sometimes they forget it.”
Alluding to the possibility of mutual benefit from off shore natural gas deposits, Kotzias continued: “We have not only a common past but a common future.”
This common future would to some extent help Greece to overcome its economic crisis. “We know very well what is bothering you right now,” said Rivlin.
In signing the guest book Kotzias also referred to a common future. “Standing together and reaffirming that our two democratic countries will further enhance their cooperation to the benefit of our people and peace and stability in the region,” he wrote.