Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday highlighted his country’s close relations with Cyprus, pointing out how it had hosted thousands of Jews after the Second World War and how it is now Israel’s favourite holiday destination.
Speaking after their meeting in Jerusalem, the two presidents stressed the close relations between the two countries and the efforts for further strengthening of ties.
President Nicos Anastasiades is on a state visit to Israel to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum on Thursday, along with other world leaders following an official invitation from the Israeli president.
Rivlin welcomed Anastasiades saying it was always a pleasure to welcome such good friends.
”You are friends and neighbours,” he said, adding that his country was looking forward to further cooperation in the energy sector.
Rivlin also said his country would never forget how Jews trying to go to Israel after the Second World War were hosted by Cypriots.
“They came from the ashes of Europe’s ‘ovens’ and found a refuge in Cyprus. We will never forget that, ”Rivlin said.
Rivlin also referred to the close cooperation of the two countries not only in tourism – since Cyprus “is the best place for us to have vacations” – but also the bilateral cooperation in many sectors including water management systems, agriculture and security, including cybersecurity.
“We are very happy about the relationship we have and we can extend it. We are very close and we can do much better,” he added.
Anastasiades said he was honoured to participate in an event for the memory those who fought and were sacrificed “so that Israel can today be such a strong state, despite the challenges it faces”.
He also referred to “the close and excellent relations between the two countries” and the alliance they have formed which deals with the challenges faced in the region.
Anastasiades reiterated no one is excluded from this alliance but those wishing to join must respect international law, human rights, independence and other countries’ sovereign rights.
“Unfortunately, some of our neighbours are trying, without showing any respect for international law, to play a bigger role than they are entitled to,” he said, referring to Turkey.