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.

 

Syria army retreats as rebels hold on to Idlib

Turkey accused of providing weapons to Syria jihadists

Yemen shelling kills two Saudi border guards

Nusra Front chief pledges no attacks on West

Israel FIFA suspension bid withdrawn, amended proposal passed

Attack on Shi'ite mosque in Saudi Arabia

Syrian Christian beheads IS terrorist

Al-Azhar meets Marine Le Pen to 'show true Islam'

IS claims Baghdad hotel car bombings

'Highest ethical standards' for Qatar World Cup

Bombs rip through Baghdad hotel car parks

Merryland Park: A missed symbol of liberal Egypt

Syria revenues shrink under rebel control

Blair resignation widely welcomed by Palestinians

Qatar pledges $50 mn to Indonesia for sheltering Rohingya migrants

Al-Jazeera interview with Nusra leader draws criticism

Palestinians 'open' to every scenario on FIFA vote on Israel

Iran defends spy trial of US journalist

Iraq exhumed remains of 470 bodies from Tikrit mass graves

Kerry set to launch final diplomatic push for Iran nuclear talks

Coalition raids target headquarters of rebel troops in Yemen capital

Iraq operation to liberate Anbar faces barrage of criticism

EU calls for resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks

Fast pace of executions in Saudi Arabia 'very disturbing'

Tunisia begins hearings into ex-regime's rights abuses

‘Islamic State’ executes 20 men in ruins of Syria ancient city

Saudi Arabia announces sanctions against two Hezbollah leaders

Libya to fight aggression with 'strength'

Iran says nuclear talks could go beyond deadline

Hamas accused of committing war crimes against civilians

German court rejects Yemenis' case over US drone killings

Kuwait emir urges Muslim states to fight extremism

NY Times journalist has Turkish citizenship revoked

Military site inspections necessary to Iran deal

Iraqi forces on outskirts of Ramadi

Syrian refugees ignored at Turkey poll campaign

Director 'shocked' at Morocco’s prostitution film ban

Libya PM survives assassination attempt

US criticises Shiite name of Iraqi military operation

Israel warplanes strike Gaza after rocket attack

Pro-government fighters retake Yemen city from Shiite rebels

Libya militias trap civilians in Benghazi

EU border agency plans to expand migrant rescue operation

Syria state TV blames ‘foreign enemies’ for signal jamming

Palestinians and jihadists clash in Yarmouk