Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ahamadinejad calls Israel a `tyranny'..while Iran's Jews live in a world of fear

Today, Iran's President Ahamadinejad told a group of cheering Muslim students in Indonesia that Israel was a tyrannical regime "that will one day be destroyed" and that "Israel will be annihilated".

Spme people think it's just rhetoric. Or, like a lot of the Angry Left in the West,that Ahmadinejad is not anti-Semitic...just anti-`Zionist'.

In view of that, how does Iran treat its dwindling Jewish community? Annette Young in the Scotsman helps provide a look at that.

Most of the Jews who were able to have fled Iran at this point. There were about 150,000 in 1948 when the state of Israel was established. Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, ties between Israel and Iran were very close, and the two countries were allies. After the Islamic Revolution there was major exodus. There are perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 or so left today.

As dhimmis in an Islamist nation, the Jews essentially have no civil rights and no protection under Sharia law...just like the remnants of the Armenian Christian community, who have also mostly left. Nazi-like, the regime often `sold' the one who were allowed to leave `exit visas' exchange for their entire net worth. At this point, the only Jews left in the country are those without the financial wherewithal to buy their way out.

Jews are very reluctant to draw any attention to their community, since they're justifiably afraid of government reprisal, and of being accused of being `Zionist spies'.

In 1999, 13 Jews from Shiran and Isfahan in southern Iran were arrested and accused of spying for Israel and the United States, including a rabbi, a kosher slaughterer and a 16 year old boy. They were kept in solitary confinement for months without formal charges. Ten of the accused were found guilty of `cooperating' with Israel and were given prison terms ranging from two to thirteen years. They were released in October 2002 with five of them apparently were released on 'probation' for an indefinite period, leaving them open to future arrest.

At least another 13 Jews are known have been summarily executed by the Islamist regime since the Revolution, often on the flimsiest of pretexts. For example, in May 1998, Jewish businessman Ruhollah Kakhodah-Zadeh was hanged in prison without a trial on the charge of assisting Jews to leave Iran.

On March 16, 1979, Habib Elghanian, the honorary leader of the Jewish community, was arrested on charges of "corruption", "contacts with Israel and Zionism", "friendship with the enemies of God", "warring with God and his emissaries", and "economic imperialism". He at least received the semblance of a trial by an Islamic revolutionary tribunal, but was sentenced to death and executed on May 8, 1979.

Before the revolution, there were some 20 Jewish schools functioning throughout the country. In recent years, most of these have been closed down. Jewish schools are allowed, but the principals and most of the teachers are Muslim., Teaching is in Farsi, not Hebrew and the schools are only open on on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish pupils are compelled to attend school on that day. There are three synagogues in Teheran, but since 1994, there has been no rabbi allowed in Iran.

Jews who apply for a passport to travel abroad have to go to a special bureau and are immediately put under government surveillance. On the rare occasions when it does allow Jews to travel outside Iran, the government always keeps some family members behind as hostages.

Compare that to the status of Arabs in Israel, who have the vote, full protection under the law, complete freedom of religion and the ability to travel back and forth to Israel whenever they please.

Can you say `lying hypocrite' Ahamadinejad? Sure you can.

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