To mark 70 years since the establishment of the state of Israel an invitation-only event for heads of state and religious and community leaders in Cyprus will be held in Nicosia on May 14, it was announced on Wednesday.
During the event, a rescued and restored antique sacred Torah scroll that was saved during the Holocaust will be presented and a campaign launched to build a Jewish heritage and Holocaust museum in Cyprus in honour of the victims of the Holocaust “and all those who gave their lives for freedom and justice during World War II”.
According to the announcement from the Jewish community, Cyprus “will host the only celebration of its kind in the world where European Union and international heads of state, religious and community leaders, will come together” to celebrate the 70th anniversary, and “the important relationship that Israel has with Cyprus, the member countries of the European Union, the Russian Federation, the United States and the world”.
The event will be held at the 1010 Hall in old Nicosia and is co-hosted by the Jewish community of Cyprus, the Chief Rabbinate of Cyprus, the Jewish Heritage Foundation of the United States and the Jewish Heritage and Cultural Foundation of Russia.
Chief Rabbi of Cyprus Arie Zeev Raskin said Cyprus has been the home to Jews for over 2,000 years and when they were escaping the horrors of the Holocaust on their way to Israel, the island became their temporary home.
He said many Holocaust victims had a saying: “My heart has two sides, the left one is the side of the heart of an Israeli but the other half is Cypriot.”
He added that thousands of Cypriots helped Holocaust victims in the internment camps in Cyprus as they waited to get to Israel after World War II.
After Israel was founded in 1948, the bond between Israel, Cyprus remained and it has grown stronger and stronger, he added.
“Today’s Jewish community of Cyprus is proud to be part of every facet of Cypriot culture. Cyprus may be small but we are a powerful and important force in the European Union. It is only fitting that that the Cyprus Jewish Community was chosen to host this event … and to shine a light on Cyprus, its culture and its people, who have become a new and expanding home to Jewish culture, education and business.”