It’s a well-worn strategy for Jewish minorities to toe the government line for reasons of self-preservation, and the Jewish minority in Iran is no exception. Thus it condemned the killing of General Qassem Soleimani by the ‘Great Satan’, and tries to enforce the distinction between Judaism and Zionism. Israel Hayom reports:
Iranian Jewish leaders, together with Christians and Zoroastrians, visited the house of assassinated General Qassem Soleimani to pay their respects
The first thing the Jews of Iran did Friday before last, when they heard the astonishing news that commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani had been killed in a US airstrike, was issue sharp condemnations of the American act.“God will avenge his blood,” a message from the Jewish community said.
At the start of last week, to pay their condolences to his family, and took part in his funeral. Those present included Chief Rabbi of Tehran Yehuda Gerami, who even condemned the killing in an interview to state television. We can only guess how afraid the community was that the nation would vent its fury against them.The Iranian Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world. Legend has it that the Jews arrived in then-Persia after the destruction of the First Temple.
Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, some 80,000 Jews lived in Iran, but after the ayatollahs took power most of them left for Israel and the US. Today, the Jewish community in Iran is estimated to number some 8,000, most of whom live in the biggest cities, such as Shiraz and Tehran.“As far as religion goes, they enjoy freedom – more or less – because the Muslims cannot reject Judaism, which is mentioned in the Quran. So they can celebrate [Jewish] holidays and keep kosher and go to synagogue,” explains Rani Amrani, the director of Israel’s Farsi-language RadioRan, who made aliyah from Iran years ago. Amrani maintains close ties to Iranian Jews and non-Jews.
According to Amrani, one of the best ways for the Jewish community to ensure things stay quiet and they stay safe is to throw off any hints of Zionism.
“They are trying to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism to avoid being targeted,” Amrani says. Every few years, rare footage of Jewish activity in Iran is made public, usually around the holidays. Last Sukkot, Jewish BDS activist Ariel Gold documented the traditional prayers. Of course, her visit was approved by the Iranian regime. The goal? To prove that Iran has no quarrel with Judaism, only with Zionism. Rabbi Gerami’s Facebook page also shows recent prayers and rites, including the song “Maoz Tzur” sung in both Hebrew and Farsi.