Greece Agrees to Allow 600 Israelis per Week to Visit Four Designated Cities

Israeli citizens will be able to travel to Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and Corfu

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
The Parthenon temple at the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece, May 18, 2020.
The Parthenon temple at the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece, May 18, 2020. Credit: Alkis Konstantinidis/ REUTERS
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

The foreign ministers of Greece and Israel have come to an agreement to allow citizens of Israel to come into the European country, with strict regulations on numbers and location. 

Up to 600 Israelis will be allowed to visit per week, but will be restricted to the capital Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki, as well as the islands of Crete and Corfu. 

Passengers will have to submit to two coronavirus tests, one upon departure and another upon arrival, after which they will have to quarantine for two days. It remains unclear when this agreement will go into effect, as well as how those who will be allowed into these quotas will be chosen.

An idea was originally floated to reopen Greece's borders to Israeli citizens on August 1, but this eventually collapsed.

The decision came during a surprise visit by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who came on Thursday amid tensions between his country and Turkey over control of Mediterranean gas fields.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Dendias at his Jerusalem office, saying that the visit was “another expression of the wonderful friendship between Israel and Greece, which may have taken some time to build, but is now expanding in every direction. The first direction is the shared geopolitical interest of two democratic countries in the eastern Mediterranean. Of course, we take very seriously any aggressive action in the eastern Mediterranean by any party, including Turkey. Second, we want to continue and expand our economic ties, and of course our tourism and business ties.”

There is an ongoing dispute between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean, based on conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend. On Monday, tensions escalated when Turkey deployed warships to accompany a gas drilling ship

The European Union is slated to discuss the matter on Friday. On Thursday, France and Greece conducted joint naval maneuvers. Turkey and Greece are both NATO members, but have a long-standing rivalry.

Click the alert icon to follow topics: