Shimon Peres 370.
(photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)
A three-day state visit to Greece will symbolize the closing of a circle for
President Shimon Peres. Nearly 70 years ago, the president’s father, Yitzhak
Persky – then a soldier in the British Army – found refuge from the Germans in a
Greek monastery, spending a year in hiding before he was finally caught and sent
to a Nazi prison camp near Auschwitz.
Peres arrives in Greece on Monday –
at the invitation of Greek President Karolos Papoulias, who will be hosting a
state dinner in honor of his guest.
Over the past two years, there has
been a significant improvement in relations between Greece and Israel and both
countries are keen that this should continue. The new Greek government
headed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is eager to strengthen its strategic
relationship with Israel and to broaden the scope of bilateral cooperation,
specifically in the fields of politics, security and economics. Among the
dignitaries whom Peres is scheduled to meet are the Speaker of Parliament
Evangelos Meimarakis and the heads of various political parties.
at the state dinner will include leading figures in the government and prominent
business people who have dealings with Israeli companies. In addition, Peres is
scheduled for a working meeting with leaders of the Greek business
He will also use the visit to discuss the dramatic changes
taking place in the Middle East. Peres is to speak of the need for the free
world to unite in the action against the nuclear threat posed by Iran, as well
as Tehran’s support of terrorist organizations.
He is also to meet with
the local Jewish community.
Peres will also use the opportunity to thank
the Greek people for the compassion and many kindnesses from which his father
He is scheduled to return to Israel on Thursday.