Greece had abstained in November 29, 1947, when the UN General Assembly voted to recognize the newly-born Jewish state. Greek governments continued with this policy until 1990. During this time, the Israeli envoy in Athens had the title “Diplomatic Representative” until Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis was elected as Greek PM.
Explaining his decision, Mitsotakis said that “Non-recognition (of Israel) was a weakness of Greek foreign policy. The very good relations we had with the Arabs and the Palestinians did not prevent the recognition of the Jewish state.”
Mitsotakis attributes refusal to recognize Israel to late Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou’s close ties with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, however Egypt had already recognized Israel and Greece was lagging behind the rest of the world.
Greece’s strong links with Israel and Palestine, according to Mitsotakis, could only help.