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Cyprus

Cyprus remembers the Jewish detainees in Xylotymbou

President Nicos Anastasiades

RELATIONS between Cyprus and Israel are at their highest point, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday in his address at the unveiling of a plaque to honour Cypriots that helped Jewish refugees during their stay in the British detention centre in Dhekelia between 1946-9.

The event was organised by the Embassy of Israel and the Xylotymbou community council.

Summing up Cyprus-Israel relations over the years, the president said that today the two countries’ ties are formed under conditions of free will and choice, and not under conditions of economic or political need like in the past.

“During World War II and right after that, Cyprus became a place of transit of about 53,000 holocaust survivors, trying to reach British ruled Palestine, before the foundation of the state of Israel,” Anastasiades said.

The president said that the refugees, who were staying in the detention camps in Famagusta, Dhekelia and in Xylotymbou, had formed close ties with Cypriots who welcomed them and offered them basic goods and their solidarity.

He gave the example of Zehavit Blumenfeld, also present at the unveiling ceremony, and who was born in Cyprus in 1948 and left with her parents for Israel when she was only nine months old.

“Zehavit has no memories of Cyprus […] when she was little she would always hear her parents speak about Cypriots with the kindest words” the president said and elaborated how Blumenfeld became a good Samaritan for Cypriots visiting Israel for medical or other reasons.

President Anastasiades said that the two peoples have historic ties but the exploration for hydrocarbons within the two countries’ territorial waters has launched a new era in these relations, marked by mutual visits and agreements not only in the energy sector but in a wide range of topics.

“Cyprus and Israel share a common vision; to effectively and strategically upgrade our relations in every possible field of mutual interest,” the president said.

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