Greeks in Israel

Regions with significant populations
Jerusalem · Nazareth · Bethlehem
Greek and Hebrew
Greek Orthodox Church and Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Greek people

The Greeks have a long presence in Israel.


In the late 330s BCE, Alexander the Great invaded the Middle East (including the area which is now Israel), during his campaigns against the Achaemenid Empire. The landscape during this period was markedly changed by extensive growth and development that included urban planning and the establishment of well-built fortified cities. Hellenistic pottery, trade and commerce flourished, particularly in the most Hellenized areas, such as Ashkelon, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Gaza, and ancient Nablus (Tell Balatah).[1]

When the Hasmonean Kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire, the area remained under the influence of the Greek language and culture. Especially when the Byzantine Empire took the position of the Romans, Palasetina reached its greatest prosperity in antiquity. Urbanization increased, large new areas were put under cultivation, monasteries proliferated and synagogues were restored. The cities of Palaestina Prima and Teria, such as Caesarea Maritima, Jerusalem, Scythopolis, Neapolis, and Gaza reached their peak population, and the population west of the Jordan may have reached as many as one million.

Since the 7th century, when the Arabs transmitted Islam into the region, the Greek presence was reduced. Today there is a small Greek community in Israel. Also there are Greeks in charge of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.[2] There is also a large number of Romaniote and Sephardic Greek Jews who emigrated from Greece and live now in Israel. Some of who made aliyah over the previous centuries with most moving to Israel after the independence.

During the WWII some of the Greek community went to Greece voluntarily to fight against the Axis powers.[3]

Notable people

See also


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