First Published: 2007-12-27

 
Iranian Jews feel safe in own country
 

Head of Tehran Jewish Committee says Iran’s Jews proud of Iranian nationality.

 

Middle East Online

Morsathegh: ‘Anti-Semitism is a Western phenomenon’

TEHARAN - A top Jewish community leader in Iran on Wednesday described the recent immigration of 40 Iranian Jews to Israel as a "misinformation campaign" and insisted that Jews living in the Islamic Republic were not endangered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The 40 Iranians landed in Israel on Tuesday after a secret journey to Israel. No details about their route of exit from Iran were given, but it was assumed they came through a third country.

Ciamak Morsathegh, who heads the Tehran Jewish Committee, said Wednesday that the immigrants were not Iranian because pictures broadcast on television in Israel on Tuesday did not show their faces.

"This is a misinformation campaign, a campaign of lies against Iran and its Jewish community. We can't confirm that 40 Iranian Jews landed in Israel," Morsathegh said.

A joint statement signed by Morsathegh and Morris Motamed, the only Jewish lawmaker in the Iranian parliament, also said the Iranian Jews have never been part of any "organized immigration" to Israel.

The operation to Israel was sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that funnels millions of dollars from evangelical donors each year.

Yehiel Eckstein, a rabbi who founded the fellowship, said each immigrant receives $10,000 from the group to help get them started in Israel.

Iran doesn't recognize Israel, and Iranian citizens are not legally authorized to travel to the Jewish state.

Morsathegh insisted Jews in Iran are not in danger.

Iran's Jewish community of about 25,000 people is protected by the country's constitution and remains the largest in the Muslim Middle East. Synagogues, Jewish schools and stores operate openly.

"We are one of the oldest communities in Iran. We are free to practice our religion. Anti-Semitism is a Western phenomenon but Jews have never been in danger in Iran," said Morsathegh, who spoke in his office in the Sapir Charity Hospital, which is run by Iranian Jews.

Morsathegh said Iran's Jewish community disagreed with Ahmadinejad when he called the Holocaust a "myth" but insisted his policies do not endanger Iran's Jewish minority.

"We are Iranian Jews and are proud of our nationality. No amount of money can encourage us to give up Iran. Our nationality is not up for sale," Morsathegh said.

 

US admits IS most dangerous terror group it faced in recent years

Europe launches fresh UN bid to end Gaza conflict

Tougher penalties as UAE updates counter-terrorism law

Iraq Kurds launch offensive to retake Jalawla from IS

British jihadists on forefront on IS propaganda

Hammond: Britain will not work with Assad to combat IS

Gunmen open fire at Iraqi worshippers during Friday prayers

Abbas holds talks with Meshaal for second day

33 killed in fatal Egypt resort coach collision

Abbas holds talks with Meshaal in Doha

Iraq Kurds face real challenges in fight against IS jihadists

Death toll in Syria war tops 180,000

France delivered arms to Syrian rebels 'a few months ago'

US reveals failed operation to rescue American hostages in Syria

Somali journalists face trial for ‘violence incitement’

Iran asks West: What is our reward for help against IS jihadists?

Turkey ruling party meets to agree Davutoglu as PM

Kuwait nabs suspected Al-Nusra Front financier

Obama demands world action against jihadist ‘cancer’

Three senior Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades commanders killed in Gaza

Hamas armed wing declares end to truce talks in Cairo

Tribal clashes kill dozens of people in troubled Darfur

Dubai real estate giant to repay debt four years ahead

Egypt hopes power cuts could ease next week

Jihadist beheading of US journalist sparks worldwide revulsion

Iran provides ‘advice’ to Kurds fighting IS jihadists in Iraq

Power cuts and petrol shortages: Life grows increasingly difficult in Libya

Suspected attack by Kurdish rebels kills one Turkish soldier

UN launches huge aid operation in northern Iraq

Israel pounds Gaza as mourners cry ‘revenge’

Outgoing first lady breaks silence on ‘falsehoods’ against Turkey President

Ex CIA boss: journalist's killing 'first IS terrorist attack against US

Scores of armed Yemen rebels boost positions in capital

Sinai jihadists punish supporters of Egypt army with decapitation

Germany ready to support Iraq Kurds in battle against ‘barbaric’ IS

Iran’s 'reformist' science minister sacked

Turkey assures Ocalan Kurdish peace process will press ahead

Hollande: international situation ‘most serious’ since 2001

Israeli minister: ‘Deif deserves to die’

German minister accuses Qatar of financing IS

US hits back at criticism of Ferguson racial unrest

Jihadists to US: stop air strikes or we will behead second reporter

Temporary Gaza ceasefire goes up in smoke

Islamic State in Syria: Not few brainwashed people but whole army

Egypt to US: Show us how you deal with unrest in Ferguson