Chief Rabbi of Israel Lau arrives in Cyprus


Rabbi David Lau, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi and president of the High Rabbinical Court of Israel, arrived Wednesday in Cyprus where he will visit with the Jewish community. 

The trip is slated to include a rabbinical conference with local rabbis arranged by the Chief Rabbinate of Cyprus where Lau will participate in a question and answers session on Jewish law. 

Rabbi Lau will meet the Archbishop and the President of the Republic Nicos Christodulides alongside the Chief Rabbi of Cyprus Arie Zeev Raskin. The rabbis will discuss various issues concerning the Jewish community of Cyprus at the meetings.

Additionally, Lau is expected to stop by the Jewish Community Center in Larnaca, the local Jewish schools, the Jewish Museum and the Friendship Circle charity building.

Jewish life in Cyprus

Raskin said in March that the Jewish population in Cyprus, an Orthodox Christian state, has swelled over the past three years. 

RABBI ARIE ZEEV RASKIN speaks at a Hanukkah event: Hundreds attend public menorah lightings across Cyprus. (credit: Chabad of Cyprus)

“In total, the number of people coming from Israel has increased tremendously. A lot of the newcomers come because life in Israel has become complicated for them, with too much stress. So people who can work from home have moved here.

They find it a nice, quiet destination that is close to Israel [flights from the coastal city of Paphos to Tel Aviv take 50 minutes]. The relationship between the two countries is very friendly,” he said. 

He estimates there are a total of 2,000 Jewish families in Cyprus – about 6,000 Jews live there.

Israel-Cyprus relations

Israel, Greece and Cyprus have become key strategic partners in recent years, cooperating closely in such areas as trade, energy, and defense and security.

In May, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant traveled to Athens as part of an important trip to Greece and Cyprus.

Cyprus and Israel said last month they are in talks over a new path to exporting gas from Israel to continental Europe.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot president Nikos Christodoulides discussed “providing gas from Israel to Europe via a pipeline from our gas fields to a gas liquification facility that will be built in Cyprus,” Netanyahu said in May. 

James Martin and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report. 

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