Israel, Greece sign mutual tourism pact for citizens vaccinated against virus

Greek PM welcomes initiative that would allow 'Israeli tourists the opportunity to spend their holiday in Greece without any restrictions' and PM says 'will allow us to reopen the economy, but carefully'
Itamar Eichner|
Israel and Greece have signed an agreement on Monday to lift some travel restrictions imposed on nationals traveling between both countries after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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  • Speaking to his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that both countries would recognize a vaccination certificate, also dubbed "the Green Passport", which will "allow us to open the economy, trade, cultural institutions and the rest of the education system, but carefully."
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    בנימין נתניהו וקיריאקוס מיצוטאקיס
    בנימין נתניהו וקיריאקוס מיצוטאקיס
    Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem
    (Photo: EPA)
    Under the agreement, vaccine certificate holders will be exempt from going into isolation upon traveling and will not be subjected to COVID-19 tests.
    "Once we remove flight restrictions, we will be able to fly to Greece without any limitations," Netanyahu said.
    Mitsotakis, who was on a visit to Israel, also embraced the deal, joining several other countries that have signed similar agreements with Greece, including Cyprus, Denmark and Italy.
    I welcome the vaccination campaign of the Israeli population that will allow us to offer Israeli tourists the opportunity to spend their holiday in Greece without any restrictions," Mitosakis said. "I am in favor of a green passport across the European Union, which is being promoted now in Israel which is making great progress in vaccinating most of their population."
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    לינדוס רודוס יוון
    לינדוס רודוס יוון
    Rhodes, Greece
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Greece is the first country to sign a mutual tourism pact under COVID-19, which is only set to come into effect once coronavirus infections in both the Mediterranean countries allow it, which is not expected before March or April.
    Israel is said to be negotiating similar deals with other countries as well.
    Netanyahu and Misotakis also discussed the warming ties between Israel and Turkey, making sure Jerusalem's newly found bonhomie with Ankara will not come at the expense of regional allies Greece and Cyprus.
    Israel will make it clear to the Greeks that it has no intention of joining any initiative against Turkey, and that Israel wants good relations with Ankara.
    Greece also wished to deepen its military cooperation with Israel, after defense electronics company Elbit recently won a 1.68$-billion tender to establish a simulation school for fighter pilots in Kalamata, and promote the East Med natural gas pipeline.
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    בנימין נתניהו
    בנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jerusalem District Court
    (Photo: Reuven Castro)
    At the meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu also commented on his corruption trial, hours after the last hearing, continuing to claim his innocence.
    "Everyone knows that the charges against me were made up, and today it turned out to be true," the premier said, estimating that his trial would not resume before the March 23 election. "It does not seem to me that they will rush to reach the evidence stage before the polls, because it will be perceived as an intervention in our election, and we will win big."
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