The Jews of Cyprus, the Most Israeli of All Diasporas

While Jews have inhabited the island of Cyprus for over 2,000 years, it is best known in the annals of Jewish history for the internment camps established there by Britain after World War II. Jews trying to enter the Land of Israel against London’s wishes were held in these camps, as famously depicted in the film Exodus. Less well known is the fact that, in 1899, the Third Zionist Congress discussed—and rejected—a proposal to establish a temporary Jewish state in Cyprus. Joel Rappel surveys the history of Jews on the island during the past century-and-a-half:

Hidden within a closed-off area on the Turkish side of the island, ten kilometers south of the Nicosia airport, lies one of the most intriguing tales of Jewish settlement. In this military zone, where stern Turkish soldiers prohibit any visits or tourism, the settlement of Margo was established in 1897. While it wasn’t the first Jewish settlement attempt on the island, it was the most substantial. The community, before the outbreak of World War I, consisted of approximately 138 Jewish residents. The agricultural settlements of the Jews, who arrived in Cyprus in 1883 concurrently with the pioneers of the First Aliyah in Israel, are tied to the transfer of Cypriot rule in 1873 from the Ottoman empire to British imperial control. . . .

In 2003, the Jewish community on the island numbered between 300 and 400 individuals. However, two decades later, the Jewish population, predominantly Israelis, exceeds 12,000. The current monthly growth rate is around 250 to 300 individuals, meaning more than 3,000 Israelis annually relocate to Cyprus.

In every conversation with an Israeli in Cyprus, you’ll hear the phrase, “Cyprus is just like Israel, only a 40-minute flight away.”

Who are these thousands of Israelis who have permanently relocated to Cyprus? I pose this question to the local chief rabbi Aryeh Raskin, and to the director of the Jewish community, Rabbi Levi Yudkin. Raskin responds, “Primarily those who can work from home.”

Read more at Ynet

More about: Cyprus, Israeli society, Jewish history


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus