The Jewish community was one of the early arrivals in Malta. The Jews settled in the archipelago initially as travellers and itinerant traders. And as their ventures began to thrive, they started filing for permanent residency and buying properties in Malta. Since then, Israel and Malta have been working together to protect and preserve the Jewish and Maltese culture.
Jewish Life in Malta
Whether you're a Jew or not, you'll find that the Jewish community in Malta is worth knowing. As of 2012, the Jewish population in Malta reached approximately 300. And they're living near or in Valletta, the country's capital.
Over the years, Israel and Malta have established strong bilateral relations that supported the culture, economy and tourism of both countries.
Malta's favourable corporate tax rates attract a lot of multicultural entrepreneurs, especially Jewish business owners, into investing and buying a property in Malta. Plus, in 2019, the presidents of Malta and Israel met to talk about translating their cordial relations into commercial and cultural projects.
Jewish businesses also contributed to Malta's economy for many centuries. For instance, it was the philanthropist and entrepreneur George Tayar, the grandson of Jewish Rabbi Joseph Tajar, who opened the country's first Marks & Spencer branch.
Culture, Travel, and Religion
As you traverse Malta's tourist destinations, you can meet many Jewish tour guides, entrepreneurs, and vacation property owners. And through them, you can have a better grasp of the Jewish presence in the Mediterranean paradise.
In mainland Malta, for instance, you can visit the catacomb caves in Rabat, the origins of which can be dated back to about 2000 years ago. And as you walk the streets of Valletta, don't miss to visit Jewish Salli port, a special gate for the Jews.
In Comino, you can find the dwelling place of the prominent Jewish author, Rabbi Abraham Shmuel Abulafia, whose works are now being studied at Yeshivas and Jewish colleges.
Malta was the only nation in Europe to accept Jews visa-free during World War II. In 1879, a Jewish cemetery was established in Marsa. And based on the names on the gravestones, you can tell that they came from different countries, such as Poland, Hungary, Spain, and Russia.
The Maltese celebrate Holocaust Memorial Day. And some of the country's famous landmarks and architectures have Jewish roots, such as the Misrah Lhudi (Jew's Cave), Catacombs of St. Paul, the Jewish Silk Market, Ghajn Lhudi (Jew's Cave), and Ghar Lhudin (Jewish Fountain).
Overall, the strong bilateral relations of Malta and Israel brought about a lot of economic and cultural benefits for both countries. And you can enjoy this thriving partnership as you settle down, travel, or buy a vacation property in the Maltese archipelago.