At about 300 BC, a wise and long-reigning leader, King Areus of Sparta sent a letter to the High Priests of Jerusalem addressing them as brothers and proposing a friendly alliance between the two peoples. The Areus initiative and ensuing consistent events are recorded in the Book of the Maccabees and the History of the Jewish People by the historian Josephus Flavius. Following the strong and long-standing symbolism of the above, the Sparta-Israel Forum aims to further promote Hellenic-Israeli cooperation within a worldwide horizon and towards the mutual benefit of the two historical peoples.
In a broader sense, Sparta-Israel Conference aims at a deeper acquaintance and mutual understanding between Greeks and Israelis, following the historically recorded friendship between ancient Sparta and the People of Israel. In the belief that Greece is entering a new phase of reflection and redeployment of its productive and intellectual forces, we believe that the activities of the event are part of a new perspective on international relations and related initiatives. In this direction, substantial scientific announcements will be made about the ancient friendship between Sparta and Jerusalem and the centuries of productive presence of the Jewish people in the region of Sparta. Looking forward, new and promising initiatives will be contemplated towards the same direction.
The Sparta-Israel Conference consists of the following five parts:
(a) Archaeological findings in the area of Sparta that reflect the productive presence of Jewish people.
(b) Dedication to the life and works of Donald Kagan, the prominent scholar of Jewish descent, who is internationally recognized for his accomplishments in the area of Classical Hellenic Culture. Prof Kagan spent several decades as a Professor of Ancient Greek Letters at Yale University. Among his favorite topics of research were the history and culture of Sparta.
(c) An analysis of the historical and cultural aspects of the ancient friendship between the Spartan Kings and the High Priests of Israel. Particular mention will be made of the personality of King Areus, who conceived of the initiative to send a special diplomatic mission to Israel and wrote the historical letter to the High Priests.
(d) Presentations and roundtable discussions on the prospects of renewing ancient friendship in the sense of promoting future cooperation between Greece and Israel on development, tourism and cultural issues.
(e) A display of cooperation and investment opportunities within Sparta and Laconia. To this end, we will work with the Municipality of Sparta, various professional chambers, and other relevant local institutions.
The event is expected to be attended by high-profile personalities from the US, Israel and Greece.
At its initial stage, the «Sparta-Israel Conference» was generously funded by the accomplished Spartan entrepreneur Dimitris P. Giannakopoulos. At that time, this visionary Spartan supported the successful promotion of the initiative in the United States. The organizers are grateful to Mr. Giannakopoulos for his precious backing.