Forty Jews came to the State of Israel from Iran on Tuesday. This is the largest single group of Iranian Jewish immigrants ever brought to Israel by the Jewish Agency.
A Jewish Agency official has told The Jerusalem Post the agency hopes to bring all of Iran's remaining Jews to Israel and will work hard to achieve this goal.
The official was speaking as the 40 Iranian Jewish immigrants landed at Ben Gurion
International Airport Tuesday afternoon to start new lives in the State of Israel. The Post is not allowed to publish the name of the third country where the immigrants arrived from.
Each immigrant will receive a $10,000 gift from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, in addition to the usual basket of immigration benefits provided by the Immigrant Absorption ministry. Prior to Tuesday's arrival, the Jewish agency had managed to bring 200 Iranian immigrants into Israel in 2007, three times more than in 2006. The rise in the number of immigrants is largely due to funding provided by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
The new immigrants will be taken to absorption centers in Jerusalem and Beersheba, where they will stay until they are ready to move out.
"The Jewish Agency has spared no expense in bringing the Jews of Iran and will work to bring the rest of them to Israel. The atmosphere in Iran has done the work for us. Anti-Semitism in Iran is growing from day to day. This is in total contrast to what the leaders of the Iranian Jewish community are saying. Jewish schools have been shut down, a ban has been ordered on the learning and teaching of the Hebrew language. Because of this, Iranian Jews are starting to feel the earth beginning to burn beneath their feet. This is not the place where they want to live. Through the Jewish Agency, I hope we can bring them all," Yossi Shraga, head of the Immigration from Middle East Countries department at the Jewish Agency, told the Post.
Several families waiting in the arrival hall of the airport for the immigrants hotly contested Shraga's statement. They claimed there is no ban on studying Hebrew in Iran, and that Jewish schools have not been forced to shut down.
An Iranian Jew who immigrated to Israel six years ago said that families continued to communicate with each other over the phone without too many problems. From Israel, one can dial directly to Iran, and from within Iran, many families are using VOIP (Voice over IP) technology to communicate with their relatives in Israel.
The immigrant, who preferred to remain unnamed, said the Persian Jews in Israel and in Iran don't speak Hebrew on the phones.
"90% of the Iranian people, even though they are exposed to anti Israel incitement and propaganda, have no real problem with Israel and the Jews," the Iranian Israeli said.
The Jerusalem Post also contacted the Anti Defamation League (ADL), which concurred that there was no discernible rise in anti-Semitism in the Iranian media, although they could not comment on what was happening on the ground in the Islamic Republic.
Shraga told the Post that the Jewish Agency, after a series of internal deliberations, decided to publicize Tuesday's arrival in the hope that it would help other Iranian Jews to make aliyah. He would not, however, go into details on how the actual decision was arrived at.
All Iranian passports say: "The bearer of this passport cannot travel to occupied Palestine." A Jewish agency official told the Post that the new immigrants had not given up their Iranian passports and were still in possession of them.
In 2006, 65 Iranian Jews came to Israel. This year 200 new immigrants arrived, not including today's arrival.
An estimated 25,000 Jews remain in Iran.
The Zionist Agency is bringing Jews from a place where by their own testimony they are not in danger, to a place where they will be in danger. Then the Agency officials paint a negative picture of Jewish life in Iran so that they appear to be the saviors of Iranian Jew!
It is noteworthy that this positive testimony about Jewish life in Iran comes from Jews who have been living in the Zionist state for several years. One cannot claim that their statements were made in fear of the Iranian government.
The Jewish Agency's boast that they will eventually bring all the Iranian Jews to the Zionist state may be harmful to the Jews in Iran, because the Iranians will suspect them of disloyalty. Perhaps this is what the Jewish Agency wants. As Herzl said, anti-Semitism is Zionism's best friend. The Agency official echoed those words when he said, "The atmosphere in Iran has done the work for us. Anti-Semitism in Iran is growing from day to day."