Israel and Greece are set to sign the largest ever security agreement between the two countries, worth up to $1.68 billion, the Times of Israel has reported.
The deal to be signed by the respective defence ministries, approves the establishment and operation of a flight school for the Hellenic Air Force by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest private arms company.
Elbit is said to have supplied 85 per cent of the drones used in the war on Gaza in 2014, when over 2,200 Palestinians – 500 of them children – were killed in only 50 days. The Israeli arms company has ten sites across Britain.
The Greek government will also purchase training aircraft from Israel, as well as simulators, training and logistic support. The agreement will cover more than 20 years, the Israeli Defence Ministry announced.
“This agreement reflects the excellent and developing relations we have with Greece,” said Defence Minister Benny Gantz. “It is a long-term partnership that will serve the interests of both Israel and Greece, create hundreds of jobs in both countries, and promote stability in the Mediterranean.”
The move comes after Israel, Greece and Greek Cyprus agreed in November to reinforce military cooperation amongst one another. The three countries have forged close relations amid increasing tension in the area following their denial of Turkey’s exclusive economic zone rights across the Eastern Mediterranean.
The head of the ministry’s exports and defence cooperation division said that the Greek government’s approval of this agreement is a historic step in further deepening its excellent defence relations with Israel. “This is not just a defence export agreement,” added Yair Kulas, “but rather a partnership for at least 20 years. I would like to thank the Greek Ministry of National Defence for its trust, and for assigning this important task to the Israel Ministry of Defence and our excellent defence industry.”