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Island at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It comprises an area of 6,188 m2, and has a population of close to half a million, consisting chiefly of Greeks and Turks. In the Bible Cyprus is mentioned as Kittim. During the Maccabean period Jews lived on Cyprus. Alexander Jannaeus fought the king of Cyprus and conquered him. In the time of Trajan, Jews took an active part in the revolt against Rome. As a consequence, Jewish Cypriots were exterminated, and for many years Jews were forbidden to live on the island. At the advice of Don Joseph Nasi, the Turks captured the island in 1571 from the city-state of Venice. In 1878, during the time of Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Disraeli), the island was occupied by the British. In 1960, Cyprus gained independence. Several attempts made by the Jews of Cyprus to start farm settlements failed. In the 1930’s a number of families moved from Palestine to Cyprus, and engaged in its citrus fruit trade. After the World War II the British established detention camps on Cyprus for Jewish refugees who tried to enter Palestine illegally. Today, about 24 Jews lived on Cyprus, out of a total population of more than 7 million.

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