Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to explore the possible purchase of a Greek island where a naval training base could be set up. The island could also serve as a port for Israeli vessels and submarines, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.
Barak's bureau said in response, "The minister had asked that the matter be reviewed and it was later determined that there was no need for it (the island). The matter is closed."
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Greece is currently experiencing a deep financial crisis. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said last month that his country is considering selling or leasing several uninhabited islands "so long it poses no security threat."
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz decided to pursue the matter and held a visit in Greece where he learned that Greece may consider an Israeli purchase. He reported his findings to Barak who ordered the IDF to look into the matter.
The IDF's Planning Branch held a discussion on the matter during which Navy representatives stressed they had no need for an island and the matter was thus dropped, also due to non-profitability concerns. But the affair didn’t end there.
The meeting's minutes were relayed to the Foreign Ministry where officials were amazed to learn that such a sensitive issue had been discussed without their involvement.
The IDF said it had invited the Ministry's representative in the Planning Branch for the meeting but that she was abroad at the time.
The Foreign Ministry strongly opposes the proposal. "It appears elements in the army have too much time on their hands and too much money to spend on islands," one source said. The defense Ministry said the issue is no longer relevant.
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