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.

 

Libya jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia announces dissolution

Images emerge of Manchester bomber as runners defy threat

Iran leader launches fierce attack on ‘milking cow’ Saudis

Jordan gearing up for another Ramadan with refugees

Syria girls escape war with Snow White

Egypt’s left-wing parties start searching for Sisi competitor

US urged to keep track of its Iraq arms supply

Qatar risks US sanctions over support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood

US-Turkish relations go from bad to worse

Egypt hits jihadists as IS claims deadly attack on Christians

Britain arrests two more in Manchester attack probe

Turkey charges opposition newspaper staff

Death toll in Tripoli clashes reaches 52

Hundreds of migrants rescued in major operation off Libya

Palestinians end mass hunger strike in Israel jails

Egypt Christians bury victims with tears, anger

Ramadan in Libya: little cash, much violence

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul

Iraq forces launch broad attack on IS holdouts in Mosul

Civilians flee IS-held Syria cities after deadly strikes

At least 28 dead in Tripoli clashes

UN says nations bombing IS must protect civilians

26 killed in attack on Egypt Christians

Turkey identifies 'intelligence weaknesses' before coup attempt

Tunisia opens trial over 2015 beach massacre

Syria army takes control of key road

US-led strikes kill 35 civilians in east Syria

Probe finds over 100 Mosul civilians killed in US air strike

Palestinian president says US should mediate hunger strike

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack

EU leaders, Erdogan meet in bid to ease tensions

Myanmar to deport Turkish family wanted for alleged coup links

Iran says it has built third underground missile factory

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US

Britain probes jihadist network amid row with US intelligence

Egypt blocks several media websites including Jazeera

IS suicide bomber kills five in Somalia

Israel uneasy over 'crazy' regional arms race

Algeria president replaces Prime Minister

16 civilians dead in coalition strikes near Raqa

4 arrested in Tunisia anti-corruption drive

German MPs call off Turkey visit as tensions fester