Police chief Stelios Papatheodorou said on Tuesday there had been no incidents of antisemitism recorded in Cyprus in 2019 and 2020 but that there had been the same years, 40 and 41 incidents respectively of racism.

“From the statistics that we maintain as the police, there is indeed an increasing trend,” the police chief said at the opening of a workshop on antisemitism that was organised by the Cyprus police academy in coordination with the Israeli embassy,

“This is where the importance of education lies, especially for members of the security forces, whose primary goal is to provide them with the necessary guarantees to identify, detect and deal with incidents of antisemitism,” he added.

The chief said the Jewish community in Cyprus today “is a living, active and prosperous part of our society”, adding that relations stemmed back decades if not hundreds and thousands of years into antiquity.

Today, Cyprus police includes patrolling the areas where Jewish synagogues are located as well as the standard security, which is provided to the Israeli embassy in line with the protection of all foreign embassies.

He thanked the Israeli ambassador for the good cooperation on security issues.

“We, as the Cyprus police, have a responsibility, both at the educational and investigative level, as well as at the operational level to combat antisemitism. I believe, however, that the most important aspect of the issue is the change of mentality at the societal level,” the police chief said.

“As Albert Einstein rightly stated the world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking’. Keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive and drawing on the lessons of this tragic page of history will make it possible to prevent the horrors of the past,” he added.

In 2019, the Cyprus cabinet approved a proposal to adopt the non-legally binding, working definition of anti-Semitism, as employed by the IHRA as a useful guidance tool in education and training.