An Israeli politician has floated the idea of buying the Greek islands as a contingency plan to evacuate Israelis in the event of an Iranian missile attack.
Avri Steiner, a spokesman for the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party led by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, proposed the idea during a board meeting of Heimanuta, a subsidiary of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), messages Israeli media.
According to several sources present at the meeting, Steiner, who is a member of the Heimanuta board of directors, argued that the islands should be bought “to create a refuge for the Jewish people in case of emergency, like a place for Jewish refugees during a war.”
An Israeli politician claimed that there were 40 uninhabited islands in Greece that Israel could buy and build infrastructure. He cited data from Greece’s Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, which he said identified 40 uninhabited islands and islets in Greece in 2012 that could be leased out for up to 50 years to reduce the country’s debt.
“Then it just became known to us. It’s a market for humanitarian purposes,” Steiner said of his proposed plan, which Haaretz called “surreal.”
Avri Steiner added that with the Greek government, it would be possible to create a basis for the subsequent transfer of the islands to Israeli sovereignty.
“It doesn’t have to be just islands, for me the idea is to buy free land to build another iron dome,” Steiner reportedly argued. The proposal met with strong opposition, both in the Israelite’s homeland and in Greece.
Can the State of Israel buy the Greek islands in the Mediterranean? According to lawyer Avri Steiner, the islands will be anotheriron dome amid growing ballistic threats from Iran, which he said has 3,000 ballistic missiles.
Speaking in a daily newspaper MaarevSteiner argued that the prospect of a subsidiary of KKL-JNF acquiring the Greek islands is a necessity for the evacuation of Israelis in the event of a missile strike or natural disaster.
“I came up with the idea that the state or an independent Zionist body should look for uninhabited land that can be bought and create the infrastructure necessary to evacuate citizens if necessary.”
Israel needs to own or lease large areas,” and the Greek islands, which Steiner says are “virtually uninhabited,” are ideal because of their proximity to Israel. “This is a humanitarian purchase,” Steiner said.
This is not the first time that Israeli politicians have offered to buy the islands from Greece to accommodate the country’s residents. But Greece does not have enough large and uninhabited islands where millions of Israelis could fit in, just as there is no desire to sell its territory, even if they are “oh-oh-oh-very strongly asked” to do so.
It is worth noting that such ideas come to the mind of Israeli politicians quite regularly, and they express them with enviable constancy. Last time with a similar idea spoke Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz in 2012. He even went to Greece, “shoba still shove the goods with his face.”
A report of this discussion was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose officials were shocked to find that a discussion on such a sensitive issue was held without a representative of their department. The reaction of the Foreign Ministry, which strongly opposed this proposal, was very undiplomatic. “It seems that the leadership of the IDF has too much extra time and money to spend on buying the islands,” the Foreign Ministry said, according to Yediot Ahronot.
*JNF is a non-profit organization founded in 1901 to purchase and develop land in the Ottoman Empire and Mandatory Palestine for Jewish settlers. The goal was part of a larger plan called “buying the land.” Jews in Israel and around the world were encouraged to donate to the project, often in the form of donations.