Before October 7, the building that hosts the Jewish community centre in the heart of Larnaca, Cyprus, was as peaceful as ever. Yet today, the building is in a state of crisis, as the hallways and the recreational areas are filled with displaced Israelis, some young, some old, but all with the same desire to seek solace on an island which is located just a 40-minute flight away from home.

According to The Guardian, about 1,000 Israelis arrive in Cyprus on a daily basis. “More than 16,000 people have now arrived in Cyprus in search of peace of mind since that terrible day,” said Ari Zeev Raskin, the island’s chief rabbi. Raskin elaborated that “there are single mothers, children with trauma, people who cannot cope with the sound of rockets falling every day. We offer them everything we can, bed, food, temporary accommodation.”

During the weeks that have passed since the outbreak of the conflict, more and more families have been arriving in Cyprus, fearing reprisals in the wake of the Israeli army’s counter-offensive against Hamas in Gaza. Amid fears of the conflict spreading, Western embassies in Nicosia are on alert, as they expect the island to become an evacuation hub, as well as – once again – a centre for the distribution of humanitarian aid.

In 2006, the EU’s easternmost member state acted as a transit point for more than 30,000 foreign nationals fleeing the war in Lebanon, a role that was repeated when thousands of British passport holders were flown from Sudan to the country earlier this year. Cyprus’ Foreign Minister, Constantinos Kombos, said that more than 1,000 men, women, and children from 35 countries have been brought to the island since 7 October.

The Cypriot President, Nikos Christodoulides, and the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, were quick to condemn the Hamas attacks – while publicly supporting Israel’s right to its self-defence. During the last few days, the EU explores the extent to which humanitarian shipments could be sent from Limassol – the country’s main port – to Gaza, which is just 255 miles away. Of course, this can only happen as soon as there is a cessation of fighting and the situation on the ground allows.