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25 Jewish dishes to eat in NYC right now

(New York Jewish Week) — In a metropolis like ours — with both an incredibly rich Jewish heritage and a dynamic, ever-changing dining scene — it is almost impossible to choose just 25 dishes that define what Jewish food in New York City is like today.

And yet, that’s exactly what we tried to do with this list, created in partnership with our colleagues at The Nosher. Rather than present a “best of,” we aim to paint a vibrant portrait of the city’s Jewish food landscape, from classics like herring schmaltz and egg creams to new mashups like churros made from Yemenite malawach dough and bright-green vegan pickle-flavored soft serve. 

This compilation of standout Jewish dishes across the boroughs is meant to capture what Jewish food — and maybe even being Jewish — is like in New York City today: joyful, a little bit syncretic, sometimes messy and always a source of pride.

From kosher adjaruli khachapuri — a Georgian cheese bread boat — in Queens to a Wagyu pastrami sandwich in Brooklyn, keep reading for our list of 25 Jewish dishes to eat in NYC right now. 

Is your favorite Jewish dish not on our list? Let us know what we missed so that we may include it on a future list. Happy eating!

1 | Adjaruli khachapuri

Marani

Rego Park, Queens 

(Shannon Sarna)

Ten years ago, one of the few places in New York City to get a Georgian cheese boat, or adjaruli khachapuri, was Marani, a two-level kosher Georgian restaurant in Rego Park, Queens. Today there are several more Georgian menus around town, but Marani remains the only kosher Georgian restaurant in the city. It’s really two restaurants in one: Upstairs, you’ll find a full bar and a meat menu with items like khinkali (Georgian soup dumplings). But downstairs, the dairy portion of the restaurant, is where you’ll find an Instagram-worthy cheese boat. Marani offers four varieties of khachapuri, but the classic boat-shaped adjaruli ($16), topped with raw egg and butter, is what cheesy carb dreams are made of. (Kosher)Shannon Sarna

2 | Cheddar jalapeno knish

Yonah Schimmel

Lower East Side, Manhattan

(Lily Lester)

Yonah Schimmel’s started as a Coney Island pushcart in 1890, and their Lower East Side storefront at 137 East Houston St. has been in business since 1910. Inside, the original counter still stands, and their knishes — essentially potato-filled Ashkenazi pastries — have been made the same way since then, too. Alongside the traditional potato, Yonah Schimmel’s has a host of knish flavors on the daily, from savory kasha and broccoli to sweet apple strudel and chocolate cheese, plus rotating daily specials. On the afternoon of our visit, we were lucky enough to try the cheddar jalapeno knish ($5.50) — a thick, almost mashed potato-filled pastry with a cheesy, mildly spicy kick. This one is definitely not your bubbe’s knish. (Kosher) — Lily Lester

3 | Chocolate rugelach

Lee Lee’s Baked Goods

Harlem, Manhattan

(Lily Lester)

If you’re looking to meet a legend and taste legendary rugelach, we’ve got you covered: Alvin Lee Smalls, better known as “Lee Lee,” has been making rugelach in his Harlem bakery for more than 50 years. His mission has been to introduce rugelach to his uptown neighbors, as well to keep the craft of artisanal, handmade rugelach alive. Smalls, who is African American and not Jewish, started making the rolled cookies after seeing a recipe in the paper. After six months of tweaking, he perfected it. (His secret? Butter — and lots of it.) The soft, flaky, mouth-watering pastries come in three flavors: raspberry, apricot and, perhaps best of all, chocolate, which is especially memorable and gooey ($3 each). Sitting amid the homey, Southern kitchen-like decor at Lee Lee’s Baked Goods with a fresh plate of rugelach is a cross-cultural dream — and I don’t want to wake up. — Lily Lester

4 | Egg Cream

S&P Lunch

Flatiron, Manhattan

(Lily Lester)

Egg creams — which famously involve neither eggs nor cream — are one of those iconic New York Jewish foods with with mysterious origins. Does the name derive from a mispronunciation of the Yiddish word “echt,” meaning genuine? Or is it a riff off the phrase “Grade A milk”? No matter. If you are in search of the platonic ideal of a classic egg cream, head to Flatiron’s S&P Lunch. There, the folks behind the newly revamped old-school lunch counter use “the same ingredients that everybody uses,” as co-owner Eric Finkelstein told us us, adding, “the order of operations is very important.” I’m not a scientist, so I can’t tell you how or why S&P’s combination of seltzer, milk and Fox’s U-Bet syrup ($5) is so delicious — just trust me when I tell you that it is. — Lisa Keys

5 | Everything bagel with smoked whitefish salad

Modern Bread and Bagel

Upper West Side, Manhattan | Chelsea, Manhattan

(Shevy Baskin)

Embracing a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean your bagel-eating days are over. Thanks to the folks at kosher-certified Modern Bread and Bagel — which now boasts two locations in Manhattan — you can enjoy an everything bagel with whitefish salad ($13.95) that’s so good, you likely will forget it’s gluten-free. Don’t just take our word for it: These bagels have been named among the best in the city in a massive bagel-tasting project. We especially appreciate that the whitefish salad isn’t too salty, and that the pickled red onions add a welcome bite. (Kosher)Shannon Sarna

6 | French fries with tehina ketchup

Laser Wolf

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(Michael Persico)

For two summers in a row, New Yorkers and tourists alike have clamored for a table at Chef Michael Solomonov’s Tel Aviv-inspired eatery, Laser Wolf, located on the rooftop of Williamsburg’s Hoxton Hotel. The main attractions here are the skewers — meat, fish or vegetables — which are cooked on a charcoal grill and come with a bottomless and ever-changing selection of salatim, or Israeli salads. But the true revelation at Laser Wolf may be the french fries, which are a far cry from simple fried sticks of potatoes. These special spuds are brined, steamed, frozen and finally deep fried, creating the crispiest exterior and a super creamy interior. Each order ($14) is served with tehina ketchup. So what if the only reservation you can snag is at 10 p.m. on a weeknight? These fries are worth it. — Shannon Sarna

7 | Hummus masabaha with sauteed chicken liver

Miss Ada

Fort Greene, Brooklyn

(Courtesy Miss Ada)

The punnily named Brooklyn eatery Miss Ada — a play on the Hebrew word for restaurant, “misada” — is located just one block from Fort Greene Park. Inside the airy space, which has a charming backyard and an open kitchen decorated with fresh herbs, chef/owner Tomer Blechman offers his elevated take on traditional Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes. There’s no wrong dish to order, though the most comforting item on the dinner menu may be the creamy hummus masabaha with sauteed chicken liver — fresh hummus topped with warm chicken livers and caramelized onions ($15). You can “wipe” the delicious combo with fresh pita like an expert or eat it daintily with a knife and fork (well, as daintily as you can eat hummus). If you’re a chopped liver fan, this is one dish you won’t want to pass up on. As a bonus, a stroll through Fort Greene Park makes a great aperitif. — Lior Zaltzman

8 | Iced café slushie

Edith’s Sandwich Counter

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(Brendan Cunningham)

On my first trip to Israel I fell in love with “ice café.” Not to be confused with a cold cup of coffee with ice cubes, Israeli ice café is essentially a coffee milkshake that’s delicious and refreshing in any season, but especially the scorching summer. Here in New York, Edith’s Sandwich Counter — a tiny Williamsburg spot that celebrates Jewish food from around the world — has made this treat even better. Edith’s iced café ($8.25) — a slushie made of cold brew, oat milk and tahini — is a delicious vegan concoction that’s both less sweet than a milkshake but creamier. What’s more, Edith’s offers a punch card to earn a free iced café slushie after your 10th purchase — which won’t be a difficult feat. — Julia Gergely

9 | Jachnun

12 Chairs Cafe

Soho, Manhattan| Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(Courtesy of 12 Chairs)

Jachnun is a hand-rolled Yemenite pastry that, while ubiquitous in Israel, is surprisingly hard to find in New York. But at 12 Chairs Cafe, an Israeli restaurant with locations in Soho and Williamsburg, you can get your fill: As part of their weekend brunch menu, you can order jachnun ($14), which is cooked slow and low overnight with a touch of date honey, resulting in a flaky, chewy and sweet pastry that melts in your mouth. The jachnun is served rolled up with traditional savory sides of zhug (a Yemenite spicy sauce), hard-boiled eggs and crushed tomatoes. The delectable treat might transport you to faraway lands, but be sure to take in the vibes right where you are: On the weekends, 12 Chairs is an especially lively spot where Israeli pop music is blasted through the speakers.  — Julia Gergely

10 | Kafe Hawaij sticky bun

Fan-Fan Doughnuts

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

(Melissa Hom)

At Brooklyn’s Fan-Fan Doughnuts, James Beard-nominated Chef Fany Gerson makes decadent fried dough treats with juicy, oozing toppings and fillings. Gerson marries her Mexican and Jewish roots in her creations, which include guava and cheese doughnuts and, for Hanukkah, wonderfully comforting sufganiyot. Amid all these bright and inventive offerings are her sticky buns, a rolled pastry ($5.50) made with New York Shuk’s Kafe Hawaij, a transporting Israeli-Yemeni spiced coffee mix. Come early, prepare to stand in line and perhaps bring some extra napkins and wipes — because Fan-Fan is an immersive and sometimes sticky experience. — Lior Zaltzman

11 | Malawach churros

Balaboosta

West Village, Manhattan

(Peter Bonacci)

Chef Einat Admony’s Israeli dishes have been a staple of the NYC food scene since 2005, when Admony first opened Taim, a fast-service restaurant specializing in falafel. Since then, Admony has opened (and closed) several restaurants, including Kish Kash, Bar Bolonat and her second iteration of Balaboosta, a modern Israeli restaurant now located in the West Village, named for the Yiddish term for “perfect housewife.” Balaboosta is known for dishes like fried olives with labne and cauliflower with peanut tahini, but if you’re craving an extra-special sweet treat, save room for the malawach churros ($13). A riff on the popular Spanish/Portuguese treat, Admony’s churros are made of malawach — a flaky Yemenite flatbread that is popular throughout Israel. They are deep-fried, coated in cinnamon sugar and served with a mixed berry sauce and dulce de leche. — Shannon Sarna

12 | Manti

Chaikhana Sem Sorok

Rego Park, Queens

(Shannon Sarna)

Step off the subway in Rego Park, Queens and you’ll be surrounded by the melodious sounds of Russian, Spanish, Korean, Polish and more. This diverse neighborhood is also home to the largest Bukharian Jewish community outside of Israel; walk a few blocks east on 63rd Drive and you will have your choice of kosher restaurants that specialize in this Central Asian cuisine. Our pick of the bunch is Chaikhana Sem Sorok, a glatt kosher eatery featuring traditional Uzbeki and Bukharian cuisine, including some shlep-worthy manti dumplings topped with a hefty sprinkle of black pepper ($12 for four large dumplings the size of a child’s fist). The subway ride will feel worth it when you bite into the fatty meat surrounded by a delicate wrapping, but be sure to explore the rest of the menu, too, including the spiced lagman soup with noodles and hunks of meat; savory samsa pastries filled with beef, lamb or pumpkin; plus traditional tandoor bread to sop it all up. (Kosher)Shannon Sarna

13 | Meat kubeh with beet broth

Kubeh

West Village, Manhattan

(Shannon Sarna)

The menu at Kubeh, which is dedicated to “lesser-known cuisines of the Middle East,” features seasonal salads, shareable plates and well-balanced cocktails. But what you really want to order is their namesake dish: kubeh, Iraqi-Kurdish stuffed dumplings served with your choice of broth. We recommend the traditional Kurdish siske kubeh, which are filled with slow-cooked beef. Pair them with selek, a rich beet and celery broth ($21). Before opening her restaurants, Long Island native Chef Melanie Shurka traveled to Israel and spent weeks with Iraqi grandmothers and renowned chefs learning how to carefully craft this regional dish. Now, New Yorkers get to enjoy the fruits of her labor: At Kubeh, they hand roll each dumpling they serve, carrying on this delicious, sacred tradition of comfort food. — Shannon Sarna

14 | Mercato Platter

Ras Plant Based

Crown Heights, Brooklyn | Chelsea, Manhattan

(Lily Lester)

Ras Plant Based, a happening, colorful spot on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, serves up tasty vegan Ethiopian cuisine. Though its owners, Milka and Romeo Regalli, aren’t Jewish, they decided to pursue kosher certification after a local rabbi offered to help them do it. “It was an easy decision to make,” Milka tells us. “We wanted to be able to open our space to everyone in the community.” The Mercato Platter ($21) is a must-try sampler of the eatery’s “spicier” dishes, including yakatilt — a medley of carrots, onions, cabbage and bell pepper; gomen, or braised collards; and missir, a red lentil stew with berbere sauce. The colorful spread arrives on a bed of spongy injera that melts in your mouth. With several rolled-up pieces of injera on the side, the platter is a fun meal to share with a friend. (Kosher)Julia Gergely

15 | New York-style cheesecake

S&S Cheesecake

Kingsbridge, The Bronx

(Courtesy of S&S Cheesecake)

Up in the northern reaches of the Bronx, an unassuming storefront has been producing delectable cheesecakes every day for more than 60 years. Many consider S&S Cheesecake to be the best in a city known for its cheesecakes. The business was founded by Holocaust survivor Fred Schuster in 1960 and little has changed since then, including the recipe: The rich, creamy cheesecake is dense, flavorful and not too sweet with a soft, crumbly bottom. “The secret is to bake with love and serve with pride and passion,” says Yair Ben-Zaken, Schuster’s son-in-law, who operates the bakery today. The cakes are certified kosher and prices start at $20 for a 7-inch cake. (Kosher)Julia Gergely

16 | Onion disc

Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys

Lower East Side, Manhattan | Hudson Yards, Manhattan | Upper East Side, Manhattan

(Julian Voloj)

Kossar’s Bagels and Bialys is world-famous for its bialys, with good reason: They’ve been baking the crusty rolls, with a center filled with toasted onion, on the Lower East Side since 1936. Buying a bialy (or a dozen) from Kossar’s is never the wrong move, though savvy New Yorkers know to arrive early or pre-order a large onion disc, also known as pletzl. This giant wheel of a carbohydrate, topped with caramelized onions and poppy seeds, is an incredible value at $6.95. Grab some cream cheese on your way out the door and you’ve got a hearty snack for the whole family. — Lisa Keys

17 | Pickle soft serve

Jacob’s Pickles

Moynihan Train Hall, Manhattan

(Courtesy of Jacob’s Pickles)

“Are you sure you want to do this?” asked the person behind the counter at Jacob’s Pickles when we ordered the pickle soft serve ($5). The correct answer: Yes, yes you do. The vegan, oat-milk-based pickle-flavored soft serve, topped with pickle slices, tastes like cucumber sorbet and is the refreshing treat you didn’t know you needed. Be warned: The portion size is enormous, so whether you’re looking for a palate cleanser or a revitalizing midday snack, sharing this frozen treat is an excellent group activity for anyone but the faintest of hearts. — Lily Lester

18 | Pickles (with a side of books)

Sweet Pickle Books

Lower East Side, Manhattan

(Isabella Armus)

Ever sit down with a good pickle and wished you had a book to enjoy with it? Or vice versa? Well, both come hand-in-hand at Sweet Pickle Books — a one-of-a-kind used bookstore that also sells its own line of pickles. Located on Orchard Street near the Lower East Side’s historic “pickle alley,” owner Leah Altshuler came up with the idea for her hybrid shop at the beginning of the pandemic and it’s still thriving today. Drop by the cozy space, which is filled with love-worn paperbacks that hover below the $10 mark, and either swap your book donations for a jar of bread-and-butter, spicy or dill pickles — or simply buy a jar the old-fashioned way ($9.50-$12.95). — Isabella Armus

19 | Schmaltz & a Shot

Russ & Daughters Cafe

Lower East Side, Manhattan

(Courtesy of Russ and Daughters)

When people think of Russ & Daughters, their first thought is usually smoked fish, and rightly so: The family-owned appetizing business has been specializing in the stuff since they opened in 1914. But at Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street, a sit-down restaurant around the corner from the original Russ & Daughters location, a herring dish, Schmaltz & a Shot ($17), draws upon the legacy of the eatery’s Jewish founder: Back in the day, Joel Russ would sit at a small table at his Houston Street shop where he’d kibbitz with friends and customers over schmaltz herring (extra-fatty herring) and schnapps. Today, the nostalgic plate of herring, raw onion and boiled potato hearkens back to this intimate, old-school vibe — while the bracing shot of vodka brings you right back to the present. — Lily Lester

20 | Schmaltz potatoes

Agi’s Counter

Crown Heights, Brooklyn

(Courtesy of Agi’s Counter)

Ashkenazi influences are peppered throughout the menu at Agi’s Counter, a charming neighborhood restaurant in Crown Heights that’s owned and operated by Chef Jeremy Salamon. The wine list is composed of exclusively Hungarian wines — a nod to Salamon’s heritage — and if you’re a fan of strong Eastern European flavors like caraway seeds, beets and trout, this is the spot for you. But perhaps the best reason for Jewish food lovers to come to Agi’s Counter is for the schmaltz potatoes, which are prepared confit-style in chicken fat and served with a healthy dollop of schmaltz aioli and lots of fresh chives. It comes as a side dish for $13, but it shines like the main attraction. — Shannon Sarna

21 | Seder Plate Margarita

Gertrude’s

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

(Lana Schwartz)

The Passover seder plate is rife with symbolism: bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery; saltwater represents the tears of our ancestors; and, in recent years, an orange has come to represent women and LGBTQ+ Jews, whose stories aren’t often told. For those who love the ceremony of the seder, you can now seek it out year-round: Gertrude’s, a newish Jewish bistro from the folks behind popular Williamsburg diner Gertie, has a Seder Plate Margarita ($15) on their imaginative cocktail menu. The drink combines some of these Passover flavors — bitter orange, parsley and salt water, plus lime and mezcal — for a unique, refreshing beverage that pairs well with dishes designed to “push the Ashkenazi tradition,” as co-owner Nate Adler says. Four cups of wine not included. — Lana Schwartz

22 | Seoul Meets Bagel sandwich

Between the Bagel

Astoria, Queens

(Courtesy of Between the Bagel)

Walk into Between the Bagel on Astoria’s busy 30th Avenue corridor and you’ll spot a typical Jewish-American bagel menu of eggs, schmears and sandwiches. You’ll also notice, perhaps incongruously, a menu of Korean classics like yachaejeon (Korean vegetable pancakes) and dumplings. The true standouts at this spot are the mashups of of the two cuisines, particularly the popular Seoul Meets Bagel — a bagel topped with beef bulgogi (marinated and grilled beef), egg, cheese, kimchi and gochujang mayo ($10.83, tax included). This spicy, hearty sandwich will keep you full for hours. The friendly owner, Ben Suh, who describes the neighborhood as “a smorgasbord of culture,” has become a local legend: Not just popular for his culinary creations, Suh is known to give candy and samples to his customers, and treats for their dogs. — Lisa Keys

23 | Tahini soft serve sundae

Seed & Mill

Chelsea, Manhattan

(Courtesy of Seed & Mill)

At their stall in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, Seed & Mill — a New York-based company known for its high-quality tahini and halva — serves a oat-milk-based soft serve that may forever change your mind about vegan desserts. Their satisfying tahini soft serve sundae ($8) is topped with crumbled halva and a drizzle of tahini, resulting in a creamy, salty concoction with just the right amount of contrasting crunch. While you’re there, grab a piece of their rich dark chocolate halva to go. — Shannon Sarna

24 | Thai Tea Babka French Toast

Thai Diner

Nolita, Manhattan

(Philissa Cramer)

A Thai restaurant might be an unorthodox place to grab babka, but then again the Thai Tea Babka French Toast ($15) at Nolita’s happening Thai Diner is unorthodox in its own right. Only available during brunch and lunch, the dish features thick pillows of homemade babka, swirled with vanilla and fragrant with thai tea. A bright orange Thai-tea-flavored crema and a tiny pitcher of sweetened condensed milk allows customers to intensify the dish’s distinctive blend of rich spices and sweet milkiness. Thai Diner’s pandan-flavored green-and-white cookie offers another Southeast Asian twist on a Jewish deli classic, black-and-white cookies, but the French toast has been a signature dish since the restaurant opened in 2020 for good reason. — Philissa Cramer

25 | Wagyu Pastrami Sando

Shalom Japan

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(John Keon)

Since opening in South Williamsburg in 2013, Shalom Japan has been making waves online and IRL. The restaurant is owned by husband-and-wife team Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi, who draw upon their respective Jewish and Japanese roots. You’ve probably seen, or even tried, their iconic matzah ball ramen, which combines two of the world’s greatest comfort soups into a singular stellar dish. However, the star of the impressive menu may be their melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu Pastrami Sando ($22), which features house-cured pastrami simply dressed with Gulden’s mustard and piled between pillowy slices of shokupan, Japanese milk bread. I don’t give this title lightly: This sandwich is the softest thing I’ve ever eaten. — Isabella Armus

Is your favorite Jewish dish not on our list? Let us know what we missed so that we may include it on a future list!


The post 25 Jewish dishes to eat in NYC right now appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis

Drones are seen at a site at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on April 20, 2023. Photo: Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

i24 NewsA senior Israeli security official spoke to i24NEWS on Saturday on condition of the retaliatory strike carried out by the Israel Air Force against the Houthi jihadists in Yemen.

“This is an important operation which signals that there’s room for further escalation, and sends a very strong message to the entire Shiite axis.”

“We understood there is a high probability of counter attacks, but if we do not respond, the meaning is even worse. Israel has updated the US prior to the operation.”

The strike on Hodeida came after long-range Iranian-made drone hit a building in central Tel Aviv, killing one man and wounded several others.

The post Israeli Official: ‘Important Operation’ in Yemen Sends Strong Message to Shiite Axis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi addresses followers via a video link at the al-Shaab Mosque, formerly al-Saleh Mosque, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

i24 NewsThe Israeli military on Saturday confirmed striking a port in Yemen controlled by the Houthi jihadists, a day after the Iranian proxy group perpetrated a deadly drone attack on Tel Aviv.

“A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the area of the Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen in response to the hundreds of attacks carried out against the State of Israel in recent months.”

After Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv, reports and footage out of Yemen of air strikes hitting Hodeida

— Video used in accordance with clause 27A of Israeli copyright law pic.twitter.com/d2uE16ZzQ1

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

Yoav Gallant, the defense minister, issued a statement saying “The fire that is currently burning in Hodeidah, is seen across the Middle East and the significance is clear. The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

“The blood of Israeli citizens has a price,” Gallant added. “This has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen, and in other places – if they will dare to attack us, the result will be identical.”

Gallant: ‘The fire currently burning in Hodeida is seen across the region and the significance is clear… The blood of Israeli citizens has a price, as has been made clear in Lebanon, in Gaza, in Yemen and in other places – if they dare attack us, the result will be identical.’ pic.twitter.com/DmHjwfHtPV

— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) July 20, 2024

The post IDF Confirms Striking ‘Terrorist Houthi Regime’ in Yemen’s Hodeida first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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