Iranian Jews Say No To $10,000 Offer To Immigrate To Israel

July 12, 2007 2:49 p.m. EST

Linda Young – AHN News Writer

Tehran, Iran (AHN) – Amid conflicting reports, the Society of Iranian Jews issued a statement on saying that they have not been offered money to move to Israel and they wouldn’t go if that offer were made. That statement was made following reports that wealthy Jews of Iranian descent had collected money and that they were offering the approximately 20,000 Iranian Jews $10,000 to relocate to Israel.

“The Iranian Jews are the oldest Iranians, and if a group has embarked on immigration, it is not an issue separate from other normal migrations by other Iranians,” the statement read in part, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency took full advantage of the situation. They reported on Thursday that Iran’s Jews had no interest in moving to the occupied territories of Israel because they enjoyed “full religious freedom in Iran.”

IRNA also noted that that Iranian Jews are among the oldest group of Iranians and have a love of their distinctive culture and Iranian identity.

The cash incentives, which were doubled from their previous level, were offered with the full support of the Israeli government after the lower amounts failed to bring a flood of Jewish immigrants out from Israel’s enemy, Iran.

But Iranian Jews claim that the offer puts pressure on them to prove their loyalty and is also insulting.

“It suggests the Iranian Jew can be encouraged to emigrate by money,” said Iran’s sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, according to Britain’s Guardian Unlimited, on Thursday. “Iran’s Jews have always been free to emigrate and three-quarters of them did so after the revolution but 70% of those went to America, not Israel.”

Jews have lived in Iran since at least 700 BC. At the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution, there were 80,000 Jews there. But at 20,000 today, that still means more Jews live in Iran than in any other Middle East nation except for Israel.


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