Community in Cyprus - World Jewish Congress

According to 2023 statistics, Cyprus is home to approximately 300 Jews. Recently revived, Cypriot Jewry is largely comprised of Israelis, as well as Russian and British Jews. Israel and Cyprus have maintained diplomatic relations since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Cypriot Jewish community is represented by the Jewish Community of Cyprus – the Cypriot affiliate of the World Jewish Congress.

WJC Affiliate
Jewish Community of Cyprus

+357 694 758
+357 22 662 077

President: Ami Yeshurun

The Jewish presence in Cyprus dates as far back as the Roman Empire era and formed a sizeable and thriving community under Roman rule. The presence of three ancient synagogues on the island attests to their prosperity. However, Cypriot Jews were banned from living on the island during the reign of Trajan as punishment for participating in a Jewish revolt against the Romans. This did not last long, as Jews returned to the island shortly thereafter.

The Jewish community in Cyprus continued to thrive throughout the centuries, and between the 12th and 15th centuries, there were more Jews in Cyprus than on any other Greek island. Though Cypriot Jews suffered some discrimination under various administrations, King Peter I promised Jews equal treatment in the 14th century. This proclamation was followed by the arrival of Jewish traders from Egypt, and by the late Middle Ages, there were Jewish communities throughout the island.

However, the annexation of the island by the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th century saw several Jews leave Cyprus. Throughout the Ottoman period, the Jewish community was small, and few records exist describing Jewish life on the island during Ottoman rule. After the island came under English rule in 1878, there were attempts to establish Jewish agricultural settlements in Cyprus, but the mainly Russian and Romanian Jewish settlers that tried to do so found little success.

After World War II and the Holocaust, there were tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors confined on the island by the British for trying to illegally enter Palestine. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, most of these survivors made aliyah, and by the following decade, the Cypriot Jewish community had dramatically shrunk in population. This decline was furthered by Cypriot independence in 1960.

Throughout the remainder of the 20th century, Jewish life in Cyprus was largely dormant, aside from occasional religious services and Israel Independence Day celebrations (through the Israeli embassy). It was not until more recent times that Jewish life began to experience a renaissance on the island.

Today, the Cypriot Jewish community is small and many Jews who live on the island do so for professional reasons. Cyprus has recently become a hotbed for Israeli tourists and in 2011, Chrysostom II, the Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, signed a document declaring the illegitimacy of accusing Jews of deicide.

The years of the Holocaust

As the Nazi Party began to consolidate power in Germany and spread antisemitism, hundreds of Jews fled to Cyprus. Throughout World War II, Cyprus served as a haven for Jewish escapees from Europe, and many Holocaust survivors stayed on the island, interned by the British, until the formation of Israel.


In 2023, Cyprus was home to approximately 300 Jews. Almost all Cypriot Jews live in Nicosia, the country’s capital.

Community Life

Jewish life in Cyprus is centered around the Jewish Community of Cyprus, the country’s Jewish communal representative organization. The Jewish Community of Cyprus is an affiliate of the European Jewish Congress and a member of Commonwealth Jewish Council. The World Jewish Congress has had contact with the Jewish community in Cyprus since 1949, due to the detainment of Holocaust survivors by the British during the so-called “illegal Aliyah”.

Religious and Cultural life

In 2005, the first permanent synagogue in Cyprus was established in Larnaca.

Kosher Food

Kosher food is available in Cyprus.

Jewish Education

Nicosia has a kindergarten and a Sunday School and there are also Jewish educational programs for adults run through the Jewish Community of Cyprus and Chabad respectively.

Information for visitors

There are a number of notable Jewish sites in Cyprus, including a Jewish cemetery near Larnaca. The British detention camp is commemorated by a plaque and in 2014, a “Garden of Peace” was established in Xylotombou to honor those detained by the British. There are currently plans to build a Museum about the History of the Jews in Cyprus, and possibly also to build a library.

Relations with Israel

Israel and Cyprus maintain full diplomatic ties and the countries enjoy close cooperation in military, agricultural, technological, and touristic endeavors.

Embassy of Israel in Cyprus
4, Ioanni Grypari Street
1090 Nicosia

Telephone: (357)-22-369500
Fax: (357)-22-3695555

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