Jewish rural settlement in Cyprus 1882–1935: a “springboard” or a destiny?
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After its transfer to British rule in 1878, Cyprus became an object of Jewish settlement. The island was seen as a reasonable alternative at a time when aliyah and land purchase in Eretz-Israel were problematic. Three attempts were made by different groups to settle Jews in rural sites between 1882 and 1935. The first, near Pathos, was initiated by a millenarian British association. It lasted barely a year and focused on helping immigrants from Russia. The second, in the years 1892–1898, fostered by a pre-Zionist group of London Jews, and with the assistance of JCA, led to the purchase of Margo, an agricultural site located between Larnaka and Nicosia. The third attempt, the longest, between 1898 and 1935, was sponsored by the JCA itself, which settled about 35 families and offered continuing professional assistance. Ultimate failure was assured, nonetheless, by the proximity of Eretz-Israel, which exerted an irresistible allure on the younger, second, generation. For a short time, Cyprus was thought by some to be a political alternative to Eretz-Israel. The so-called “Trietsch Project” of 1898 interested even Herzl himself.
KeywordsZionist Movement Citrus Orchard High Commissioner British Rule Jewish Family
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