This week, the president of Cyprus is making an official visit to Israel. In the view of Gal Luft, Jerusalem would benefit from fostering closer relations with the island nation, which is its “only non-majority-Muslim neighbor”:
Cyprus and Israel share significant natural gas reserves. . . . [L]ike Israel, Cyprus has yet to figure out how to turn its gas bonanza into cash. There is room to mesh both countries’ efforts to develop their energy resources and collectively embark on a regional energy-development plan. . . .
Cyprus is [also] in a unique position to offer Israel a coveted prize: strategic depth. On July 22, 2014 . . . a Hamas rocket landing near Ben-Gurion airport led to a four-day shutdown of Israel’s outlet to the world. This experience ensures that in the next round of fighting, Israel’s airports will be at the top of Hamas’s or Hizballah’s target list.
Israel should seek an alternative airport—far from the missile range—to enable the flow of passengers and supplies into and out of the country in times of emergency. A mere 40-minute flight or four-hour boat ride away, Cyprus can provide Israel with landing rights on its runways and hence an exit to the world. Such relationships can also extend into agreements to requisition fuel and military equipment should Israeli air-force bases come under fire, as well as airspace for training.