Everyone in Greece is struggling with the financial crisis and as a result, many Greeks have decided to migrate to other countries in pursuit of a better future. Greek Jews have not escaped this negative situation in Greece either. Hence, more and more Jewish people are choosing to make Israel their new home.
Makis Levis is one of these Jews who have moved to Israel during the past two years. Almost a year-and-a-half ago, he left Athens and headed for Tel Aviv.
“It has nothing to do with Zionism,” told Mr Levis to Haaretz newspaper. He ran his own business in Greece and has already found an Israeli co-partner for their new energy conservation company based in Tel Aviv.
“It was a chance for me to expand my Greek business,” continues Mr Levis. ”When you don’t have a job or a future, Israel starts looking like a second home,” Levis concludes.
But there are others, in contrast to Makis Levis, for whom religion played a significant role in their decision. Eftichia Kosti, who lived in Chalkida, packed her bags and moved to Petah Tikva where her family have been living for 11 years. ”I was not raised in a religious family but tradition was very important,” she says.
There are about 4,000 Jews in Greece. About 800 of them, aged between 18-35, are expected to move to Israel in the next few years.
What about the rise of Greek far-right party Golden Dawn, one wonders? Has this political change encouraged Greek Jews to leave Greece? According to Sabby Mionis, an eminent Greek-Jewish financier who immigrated to Israel in 2006, “the Jews in Greece don’t feel they’re in physical danger” despite the fact that there has always been harsh anti-Semitism in Greece.