10-26-2005, 02:12 PM #1
Iran remains home to Jewish enclave
Iran remains home to Jewish enclave
By Barbara Demick
TEHRAN - The Jewish women in the back rows of the synagogue wear long garments in the traditional Iranian style, but instead of chadors, their heads are covered with cheerful, flowered scarves. The boys in their skullcaps, with Hebrew prayer books tucked under their arms, scamper down the aisles to grab the best spots near the lush, turquoise Persian carpet of the altar. This is Friday night, Shabbat - Iranian style, and the synagogue in an affluent neighborhood of North Tehran is filled to capacity with more than 400 worshipers.
It is one of the many paradoxes of the Islamic Republic of Iran that this most virulent anti-Israeli country supports by far the largest Jewish population of any Muslim country. While Jewish communities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria have all but vanished, Iran is home to 25,000 - some here say 35,000 - Jews. The Jewish population is less than half the number that lived here before the Islamic revolution of 1979. But the Jews have tried to compensate for their diminishing numbers by adopting a new religious fervor. ''The funny thing is that before the Islamic revolution, you would see maybe 20 old men in the synagogue,'' whispers Nahit Eliyason, 48, as she climbs over four other women to find one of the few vacant seats. ''Now the place is full. You can barely find a seat.'' Parvis Yashaya, a film producer who heads Tehran's Jewish community, adds: ''we are smaller, but we are stronger in some ways.''
Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools. It has two kosher restaurants, and a Jewish hospital, an old-age home and a cemetery. There is a Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament. There is a Jewish library with 20,000 titles, its reading room decorated with a photograph of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini protection Iran's Jewish community is confronted by contradictions. Many of the prayers uttered in synagogue, for instance, refer to the desire to see Jerusalem again. Yet there is no postal service or telephone contact with Israel, and any Iranian who dares travel to Israel faces imprisonment and passport confiscation. ''We are Jews, not Zionists. We are a religious community, not a political one,'' Yashaya said.
Before the revolution, Jews were well-represented among Iran's business elite, holding key posts in the oil industry, banking and law, as well as in the traditional bazaar. The wave of anti-Israeli sentiment that swept Iran during the revolution, as well as large-scale confiscation of private wealth, sent thousands of the more affluent Jews fleeing to the United States or Israel. Those remaining lived in fear of pogroms, or massacres. But Khomeini met with the Jewish community upon his return from exile in Paris and issued a ''fatwa'' decreeing that the Jews were to be protected. Similar edicts also protect Iran's tiny Christian minority.
Just as it radically transformed Muslim society, the revolution changed the Jews. Families that had been secular in the 1970s started keeping kosher and strictly observing rules against driving on Shabbat. They stopped going to restaurants, cafes and cinemas - many such establishments were closed down - and the synagogue perforce became the focal point of their social lives. Iranian Jews say they socialize far less with Muslims now than before the revolution. As a whole, they occupy their own separate space within the rigid confines of the Islamic republic, a protected yet precarious niche. Jewish women, like Muslim women, are required by law to keep their heads covered, although most eschew the chador for a simple scarf. But Jews, unlike Muslims, can keep small flasks of home-brewed wine or arragh to drink within the privacy of their homes - in theory, for religious purposes. Some Hebrew schools are coed, and men and women dance with each other at weddings, practices strictly forbidden for Muslims.
''Sometimes I think they are kinder to the Jews than they are to themselves. ... If we are gathered in a house, and the family is having a ceremony with wine or the music is playing too loud, if they find out we are Jews, they don't bother us so much,'' Eliyason said. ''Everywhere in the world there are people who don't like Jews. In England, they draw swastikas on Jewish graves. I don't think that Iran is more dangerous for Jews than other places.'' Some problems exist. Testimony from Jews who have left Iran suggests more serious problems than those cited by Jews inside the country. In written testimony to a congressional subcommittee in February 1996, an Iranian Jew complained of being imprisoned for two years on trumped-up charges of spying for Israel. He also said his arrest was preceded by harassment at work and pressure to convert to Islam. Inside Iran, Jews say that they frequently receive alarmed telephone calls and letters from relatives in the United States concerned about their well-being, but that they themselves do not feel physically endangered. Their major complaint is the inability to visit family in Israel, and what they say is inadequate funding for Hebrew schools, which are administered by the Iranian Ministry of Education. Although many Jews hold jobs in government ministries or within state-owned firms, they say they are unlikely to rise to top positions. In addition, Iran's strict Islamic law, or ''sharia,'' contains many discriminatory provisions toward non-Muslims. Jews 'part of Iran' Still, Jewish leaders say their community has far stronger roots in Iran than other Middle East Jewish communities, which were virtually eradicated by massive immigration to Israel in the 1940s and 1950s.
Esther, the biblical Jewish queen who saved her people from persecution in the fifth century B.C., is reputed to be buried in Hamadan, in western Iran. The grave of the Old Testament prophet Daniel lies in southwestern Iran. ''We are different from the Jews of the diaspora. You see the name 'Persia' in the Old Testament almost as often as the name 'Israel.' The Iranian Jews are very much part of Iran,'' said Gad Naim, 60, who runs the old-age home in Tehran.
Iranian Jews trace their history to the reign of Persia's King Cyrus. As the Bible tells it, Cyrus conquered Babylonia in 539 B.C., liberated the Jews from captivity, and raised funds for the rebuilding of their destroyed temple in Jerusalem. The return of the Jews to Jerusalem at that time was accompanied by a large migration to the lands that were then Persia, and now Iran. In Esfahan, an Iranian city fabled for its intricate Persian tile work, the first Persian Jews were settled under the reign of Cyrus. The ancient city was once known as Dar-Al-Yahud (''House of the Jews'' in Farsi), and as late as the 19th century it was the home of 100,000 Jews, according to Elias Haronian, head of Esfahan's Jewish community. Today, the city is a repository of Jewish lore. It has a cemetery with Jewish graves 2,000 years old, stunning synagogues and Jewish mausoleums with tiles to rival those of the mosques - but a population of only 1,500 Jews. What happened to the Jews? Some converted centuries ago. Indeed, in Muslim villages surrounding Esfahan, a distinctive Jewish dialect of Farsi is spoken, and Muslims still follow certain Jewish rituals, such as lighting candles on Fridays. Others left for Tehran, or for California or New York. Some went to Israel. ''It is not that life is so difficult for us, but a minority is a minority We are like a glass of water in the sea,'' Haronian said. Haronian, a petroleum engineer, worries less about persecution than about the faltering Iranian economy, the lack of job opportunities for his four children, and the shortage of suitable Jewish spouses. ''There are very few Jewish boys here. There are so few of us,'' said his 17-year-old daughter, Shirin. At Esfahan's Hebrew school, students confided that they are deeply torn between a love of their homeland and a desire to escape from the stifling isolation of Iran. The decision to stay or go may rest largely on Mohammad Khatami, a relatively progressive cleric who won a landslide election May 23 as the next president of Iran. Although he is virulently anti-Israel in his public comments, Khatami was considered sympathetic to the Jews during his term as Iran's minister of culture and Islamic guidance. He paid a campaign visit to a social club for Jewish women in Tehran. ''We expect more freedom, an easier life, not just for Jews, for everybody,'' said Farangis Hassidim, an administrator of Tehran's Jewish hospital.
Not everyone in the Jewish community favors liberalization of Iranian society. Arizel Levihim, 20, a prospective Hebrew teacher, said Judaism has fared better within the confines of Iran's strictly religious society. ''I believe it is good for women to keep their head covered. I think it is good to restrict relations between boys and girls,'' Levihim said. ''I agree with the ideals of the Islamic republic. These are Jewish values too.''
10-26-2005, 02:58 PM #2Originally Posted by MilitiaGuy
10-26-2005, 04:11 PM #3Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
now what a feminist would say!
10-26-2005, 04:28 PM #4Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
10-27-2005, 05:17 AM #5Originally Posted by AIZ
lets recall any nukes or missiles iran threw at any countries other than iraq , and the war which the USA made a monoply on by supplying weapons to iraq , just maybe we are scared of iran because we have a guilt trip ...... JMO.
while the USA has atom bombed carpet bombed many countries while lookign for one retard and killing many innocent as collateral damage , so your above statement is an OPINION at the most , i consider USA as to be the biggest threat for innocent people who dont live in this country .
10-27-2005, 06:31 AM #6Originally Posted by zOaib
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's hard-line president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and said a new wave of Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state, state-run media reported Wednesday.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also denounced attempts to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it.
"There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad told students Wednesday during a Tehran conference called "The World without Zionism."
"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury, any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad also repeated the words of the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who called for the destruction of Israel.
"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, who came to power in August.
Ahmadinejad referred to Israel's recent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a "trick," saying Gaza is part of the Palestinian territories and the withdrawal was meant to make Islamic states acknowledge Israel.
10-27-2005, 06:44 AM #7Originally Posted by Bigen12
10-27-2005, 06:47 AM #8Originally Posted by farrebarre
10-27-2005, 07:02 AM #9Originally Posted by Bigen12
"“Every time we do something, you [Shimon Peres] tell me America will do this and will do that... I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”" ARIEL SHARON
"I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him." ARIEL SHARON
"Even if you'll prove to me by mathematical means that the present war in Lebanon is a dirty immoral war, I don't care." ARIEL SHARON
"We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population."
-- David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.
HERE RELIGION IS BEING USED TO JUSTIFY THE STATEMENT WOW !!!
"This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy."
-- Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971
"(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
-- Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988
"It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously, a certain number of facts that are forgotten with time. The first of these is that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands."
-- Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.
"Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial."
-- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 25 March, 2001 quoted in BBC News Online
Last edited by zOaib; 10-27-2005 at 07:12 AM.
10-27-2005, 07:23 AM #10Originally Posted by zOaib
10-27-2005, 12:01 PM #11Originally Posted by zOaib
Iran: Israel should be wiped off map
President Ahmadinejad: Establishment of Israel offensive move; Islamic nation will not let its historic enemy live in its midst
Ynet and agencies
The State of Israel should be wiped off the map, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday, underscoring Teheran’s extreme attitude towards the Jewish State.
The Iranian leader's remarks were made during a convention entitled "A World Without Zionists."
Western diplomat says Iran made commitment to Syria to provide Iranian technical assistance to facilitate Syria's chemical warfare program
“The establishment of the State of Israel was an offensive move. The Islamic nation will not let its historic enemy live in its midst,” he said.
Meanwhile senior American officials associated with President George W. Bush issued stern warnings to Iran in an interview published Wednesday in the London-based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat saying that “Washington is working diligently to find ways to force Iran to comply with demands by the international community that it abandons its nuclear program.”
According to the report, the U.S. plans to pressure Iran through accusations of involvement in several terror activities around the world that killed American citizens. One of the most likely files to be reopened in Washington is the bombing of the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut in 1983. The U.S. will also hit on the assassination of Iranian opposition figures by Iranian secret agents operating abroad.
Jane’s Defense Weekly magazine reported yesterday that Iran is assisting Syria, Israel’s neighbor and arch enemy, with acquiring the know-how to produce advanced chemical weapons.
According to al-Sharq al-Awsat, a few months ago Syria and Iran signed a mutual assistance agreement by which Syria will provide Iran with advanced military technologies in return for assistance in producing banned weapons.
Under a multi-million dollar project Iran will help Syria set up missile-launching sites, perform test launches of ballistic missiles and acquiring chemical weapons like mustard gas and nerve gas, the magazine reported.
Iranian nukes could encourage others
Meanwhile, Iran’s nuclear program is raising significant concerns among international experts. John Chapman, a British international strategy expert, warned that the development of Iranian nuclear weapons could change the stance of other Middle Eastern countries and also push them to produce such arms.
Speaking at a press conference attended by other experts, Chapman estimated Iran was still far from acquiring nuclear capabilities and said the international community should focus on diplomatic efforts to resolve the problem.
Chapman said great importance should be attached to curbing Teheran’s nuclear ambitions, particularly because other countries in the region, such as Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, may also be interested in developing such capabilities, in order not to fall behind in the regional arms race.
U.S., France and Spain react
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said Washington took Iran's recent statement that "Israel should be wiped off the map" seriously."It underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear intentions," he told reporters.
France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy slammed the Iranian threat. He said he has invited the Iranian ambassador in his country for talks following the statements by Iranian President.
"If the reports are true, this is unfathomable. I completely condemn the statements," said Douste-Blazy.
Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos also summoned Iran's ambassador to
protest the comments.
In a statement, Moratinos said he rejected the remarks in the strongest possible terms and had called for an urgent meeting with Iran's ambassador in Madrid.
First Published: 10.26.05, 15:39
Latest Update: 10.26.05, 19:07
You got away with replying to Bigen. You won't get away with replying to me. I want your views on this.
Last edited by Rak_Ani; 10-27-2005 at 12:03 PM.
10-27-2005, 12:07 PM #12Originally Posted by zOaib
Thank you zoaib for supplying us with yet another great example of exactly what I was trying to explain to you recently. Don't bother responding to this post. Put your energy in responding to what both Bigen and I brought up about Iran's "peaceful" attitude.
10-27-2005, 12:10 PM #13Originally Posted by zOaib
10-27-2005, 12:13 PM #14Originally Posted by Rak_Ani
10-27-2005, 12:15 PM #15Originally Posted by Rak_Ani
10-27-2005, 12:21 PM #16Originally Posted by MilitiaGuy
Ask Zoaib to explain it to you. I'm sure he'll be happy to.
10-27-2005, 12:44 PM #17Retired Vet
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
Btw, most European country's governments have summoned their Iranian embassadors to meetings over the remarks. Today Ireland condemned them (Iran's presidents and his remarks) outright. As I'm typing this now its heading lining on Sky News.
10-27-2005, 12:53 PM #18Originally Posted by zOaib
So your choice it to ignore the fact Iran is one of the counties that sponsor terrorism? Your choice is to pretend there is no Hizballa in the South of Lebanon which is sponsored by Iran? Here's a list of some torrorist organizations that enjoy/enjoyed financial support from Iran or have/had ties with Iran:
Algerian Armed Islamic Group
Come on Z, you seriously believe Iran is harmless?
10-27-2005, 12:56 PM #19Originally Posted by Rak_Ani
10-27-2005, 01:07 PM #20Originally Posted by Rak_Ani
reality is no one is gonna use nukes in such a congested region , if iran did that they are sure to nuke the rest of arab countries bordering israel , what do u think ?
i am not defending iran in anyway , i am being objective here !
10-27-2005, 01:14 PM #21Originally Posted by zOaib
You just can't bring yourself to admitting Iran is dangerous, can you?
Let me ask you this, and you give me an honest answer. Lets imagine for a minute that you want to move to Israel. Would you do that knowing that Iran has nukes?
10-27-2005, 01:38 PM #22Originally Posted by Rak_Ani
Iran's peaceful attitude? You guys are nuts if you belive Iran will still be peaceful when there are talks on aggressive nations wanting to attack it.
Its funny when other nations talk about striking Iran in a military way when it did nothing wrong. But when Iran does the same people start crying and they want Iran to be peaceful.
Iran will not be bullied around, and Western Nations want all other nations to bow down to it, and if they dont, they cry like little babies.
To deal with Western nations you cant be subservient, if you are, your screwed, you need to be aggressive and assertive.
10-27-2005, 01:40 PM #23
In terms of actions not words, Iran has been probably the most peaceful Middle Eastern state.
10-27-2005, 01:41 PM #24Originally Posted by zOaib
10-27-2005, 02:01 PM #25
I belive this was an excellent move by Ahmetnejad. It was obviously done for some purpose.
Look at the background during the speech, the English is so much bigger than the Farsi, obviously it was towards a western audience. Ahmetnejad wanted the West to see this.
And I really like the fact Ahmetnejad said that Muslim countries should not develop diplomatic ties with Israel, because that would be punishing the Palestinians.
Why should other nations accept ties with Israel when they dont reconize the Palestine state, why should other nations reconize the Palestinian state, when the Israeli state doesnt reconize the Palestinian state?
10-27-2005, 02:05 PM #26Originally Posted by Rak_Ani
if israel hasnt been that stupid to end all muslims from the face of this planet by nuking , believe me iran can bark but setting off a nuke is another thing.
i just cannot grasp the concept why israel is even worried u guys got 100 times more nukes than they can ever have.
10-27-2005, 02:10 PM #27Originally Posted by zOaib
10-27-2005, 02:13 PM #28
Yeah its that easy, to ship and detonate a nuclear bomb. Every American sounds like a parrot, repeating words of their government.
America needs to revamp its education system, instead of going to wars.
10-27-2005, 02:13 PM #29
or is it that iran will be a big dog in the region , where israel is the king of the hill uptil now ................ i think this is a man's game of whose DICK is bigger !
let iran have a bigger dick so what ? if they poke u in the eye with it then u poke them back , but till they actually do that just asuming they will, is not justifiable to attack anyone !
i see iran as a nation which has taken a lot of BULLSHIT from the west and under extreme conditions of sanctions it has managed to become a BIG DICK JOE on the BLOCK , and i think it grew those BALLS to support SUCH a BIG DICK and if bullies the agressors back , hell if we got balls we shouldnt cry about it .
10-27-2005, 02:15 PM #30
Iran took a lot of abuse from the Western Nations, and Arab states, and Afghanista, and Pakistan. The only true ally Iran had for a while was India.
10-27-2005, 02:15 PM #31Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
Yes it isn't easy, but it can be done.
America is a huge country, with miles of coast and boarders.
If they can sneak in tons of cocaine each year, why not a couple hundred pound nuclear weapon???
Or a small dirty bomb?
10-27-2005, 02:17 PM #32Originally Posted by Bigen12
The same was said about Pakistan.
10-27-2005, 02:21 PM #33Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
and u need to come suck my ass
10-27-2005, 02:21 PM #34Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
One like the stupid nation that allowed people living on its soil to orchestrate a couple of planes flying into a couple of buildings....
10-27-2005, 02:22 PM #35Originally Posted by MuckDog
Delete this post, this is no place for you to be seaking your brand of perverted pleasure...
10-27-2005, 02:24 PM #36Originally Posted by Bigen12
Iran will have the nukes, either way, there is no way to stop it.
10-27-2005, 02:25 PM #37Originally Posted by MuckDog
10-27-2005, 02:27 PM #38Originally Posted by CAUSASIAN
Sure there is, like when Israel stopped Iraq's nuclear ambitions.
A couple of days of bombing, and its all over.
10-27-2005, 02:28 PM #39
causasian knows im messing with him
his postings make me look at things differently all the time
10-27-2005, 02:28 PM #40Originally Posted by MuckDog
Please don't tell me that you two are butt buddies.....
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