Tourist Ortal: We stayed by the hotel pool rather than touring
Danny Sadeh

Israelis on Cyprus terror plot: Glad to be back

Tourists recently back from island after media broke the news of plan to target Israeli tourist destinations had been foiled say they felt uncomfortable, while Israelis living in Cyprus say it's business as usual

A Cyprus court extended on Saturday the remand of a man suspected of involvement in planning terror attacks against Israeli targets on the island.


The suspect, a 24-year-old Lebanese citizen, was arrested in Limassol last week by foreign intelligence agencies, including the Mossad. The Prime Minister's Office has blamed Iran for the plot, which – according to leaks – included plans to attack an Israeli airplane.


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A day after the arrest was made public, Ynet spoke to Israelis vacationing on Cyprus. They didn't appear to be worried. "We didn't hear anything about it, not from Israeli friends who live here and not on the local news," Reshef – an Israeli who moved to Cyprus for work 10 months ago – said. "There are lots of Lebanese on the island, but except for dirty looks, there are no confrontations."


"בקפריסין מאוד אוהבים ישראלים" (צילום: דני שדה)

Israelis living on Cyprus don't report any tension (Photo: Danny Sadeh)


Roy Bakal, who plays for the Alki Larnaca soccer team, also feels at home on Cyprus. "I haven't yet encountered anything that looked like an attempt to carry out a terrorist attack and I haven't seen any expressions of anti-Semitism," he said. "Yesterday I was in Limassol for a few hours and it didn't look any different. The people I met knew that I'm Israeli and no one mentioned it. I heard about (the plot) from the Israeli media. We go on living as usual."


Shahar Klein, who has lived in Cyprus for five years, says that "they are a lot more interested in their economic crisis than in this Lebanese guy." However, Klein stressed that the Israeli community "tries to watch out for itself, like in every place outside of Israel – we keep our eyes open."


"They really like Israelis on Cyprus," Reshef says, adding that "Israel's crisis with Turkey gave (us) points with the Greek Cypriots, who see us as partners, because there is tension with the part of the island where Turkish Cypriots live."


However, the news of the terror plot caused not inconsiderable concern among Israeli tourists. In the arrivals hall at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Ynet met with passengers on flight CY428, who described a careful security check and a real fear of a terror attack – "especially in the air."


"It's definitely worrying," Limud, a resident of Yehud, said in response to the reports. "Our children were more scared. My son said he was afraid that they would kill him, but we calmed him down. We're happy to be back in Israel."


Another passenger, Tzahi, called the security check "serious."


"I thought there was a problem with the plane. I don't know if it's related (to the plot), but there was more security than I'm used to."


Ortal, a young woman who was in Cyprus with friends, said that her parents had "called, panicked" after hearing the reports in Israel. "It panics us automatically, so we spent the time before the flight at the hotel pool instead of touring outside. We also tried not to speak Hebrew loudly."


Noam "Dabul" Dvir contributed to this report


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פרסום ראשון: 07.15.12, 09:14
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