Yosef and Chava Laufer, a Haredi couple from Beitar Illit in Gush Etzion, are launching a Haredi community in Cyprus, Srugim reported last week. Their ad (see below) reads:
To Live in Cyprus
A group of Haredi families is getting together to establish a new community in Cyprus.
The cost of living is unbearable? Are you seeking a calmer life? Community? Time for the family?
This is the place! Torah life with a dreamy view, close to a large Cyprian city.
What are the advantages of living in Cyprus?
Excellent apartments and land prices with high and persistent returns.
The cost of living is 30-40% lower than in Israel for food, vehicle purchase, maintenance, fuel, etc.
Cyprus is one of the five safest countries in the world.
Significantly lower taxes.
Do you have a family event in Israel? Do you miss your family? Do you want to hop over to the Kotel or the tombs of the tzadikim? Cyprus is close to Israel!!! Only a 45-minute flight at excellent prices and high frequency.
Let’s talk about it together in our WhatsApp group.
At least one of the promises in the ad is inaccurate: the part about Cyprus being one of the safest places in the world. I checked out the Australian Smart Traveler website which cautioned:
- A UN peacekeeping force maintains a buffer zone between northern and southern Cyprus. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus controls the southern part of the island. The self-proclaimed ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (‘TRNC’) controls the north.
- Violent incidents can occur in the UN buffer zone, especially during public demonstrations. Avoid protests.
- Watch out for bag snatching and pickpocketing, particularly in tourist areas.
- Cyprus experiences earth tremors and violent storms. Forest fires are common from May to October. Monitor local media for updates.
Somebody should warn Haredi folks about that one.
On the other hand, at least one Talmudic source, the Yerushalmi in Gitin 8a, reports: “Rabbi Yehuda says: Any place that is directly across from Eretz Yisrael, including the sea itself, is considered part of Eretz Yisrael, as it is stated: ‘And for the western border, you shall have the Great Sea for a border, this shall be your west border’ (Numbers 34:6). According to this opinion, the entire territory directly across from Eretz Yisrael is considered part of Eretz Yisrael.
Take that, Hassan Nasrallah and Yair Lapid…
It should be noted that, since there is a view of our sages that Cyprus is in Israel, then the new community will have to get a string of psakim (halachic rulings) on whether their prayer services, including all the clauses, are in Eretz Yisrael or the Diaspora. The same goes for shemittah years (they’ll have six years to figure that one out).
But if Cyprus is part of galus, they may have a hard time luring a serious rabbi to settle there and educate their children, because a man of great stature is not permitted to emigrate permanently from Eretz Yisrael.
They’ll also have to teach Greek so that when the wives go shopping to take advantage of those low, low prices, they won’t get swindled…
And on Shabbat, can they do Hagbaha with the Septuaginta?