It should come as no surprise that Iranian Jews are publicly rejecting the few grand to move out of harms way. Iranian Jewry know that there will be very harsh repercussions for those that stay behind. Many elderly cannot make the trip, and the amount being offered to buy them out is very small. According to the Iranian News:

The Zionist regime’s news sources have confessed that the Zionist organizations’ efforts to persuade Iranian Jews to immigrate to the occupied territory has had no result and the Iranian Jews prefer to live in Iran.

The Guardian article quotes from the press release of the Society of Iranian Jews:
“The identity of Iranian Jews is not tradeable for any amount of money,” the society said in a statement. “Iranian Jews are among the most ancient Iranians. Iran’s Jews love their Iranian identity and their culture, so threats and this immature political enticement will not achieve their aim of wiping out the identity of Iranian Jews.”

And my favorite line: “Ma’ariv reported that the incentives had been doubled after earlier offers of £2,500 a head failed to attract any Iranian Jews to leave for Israel.”

I have no idea if any of this is true. But if it is, then someone was really not doing their homework. To buy a Mercedes costs way more than that and no Persian Jew is going to trade Persia for a enough money to buy a used Fiat.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • must admit i have a fair few persian jewish friends and they tell manystories that support this notion..

    i have mixed feelings about it..

    i hope i never have to watch them deliberate about the true composition of their identity if conditions suddenly become unbarable..

  • Anything you hear about Jews in Iran is like talking about Jews in pre-89 Soviet Union. It’s not going to be fully reliable, and the people inside are also not going to actually say what they think.

    I’m with Rabbi Yonah on this. We’re talking about Persian Jews. Forget about tradition and identity – the offer is going to have to be a lot higher.

    I’m sure that if even anyone with Nefesh b’Nefesh threw around the idea of forming a branch to work with Parsim at some brainstorming meeting, it was quickly discarded. They’d have to use an entire annual budget just to get out a few dozen Parsim.

    Shavuah tov!

  • I love how they’re basically saying they are not for sale and I love that. It’s funny how they have to bribe people to come join the “democracy”

    Israel doesnt really have a culture or an identity. And its just so sad how Israel evicts record numbers of Palestinians. People who have lived there for generations upon generations. Heartless bastards.

    For years Israel has been trying to spread the myth that the Jewish community in Iran is suffering and must be allowed to emigrate.

    When will they leave people the fuck alone. Israel should just stick to bringing in more Ethiopians.

  • Israel seeks to encourage Iran’s Jews to immigrate

    9 July 2007

    BBC Monitoring Middle East

    Text of report by web version of Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on 8 July
    [Report by Eli Bradenstein: “Israel to Iranian Jews: Immigration At Any Price”]

    Israel is trying to find new ways of encouraging immigration from Iran in the wake of a lack of desire on the part of thousands of Iranian Jews to leave. In order to do this, an expatriate group of Iranian Jewish donors, which is behind a special fund to encourage aliyah from the land of the ayatollahs, is now offering approximately $60,000 to every Jewish family that makes comes to Israel, which will be in addition to the regular absorption basket.

    Only a few months ago, the fund decided to grant an incentive of $5,000 to every new immigrant, but this did not persuade Iranian Jews, many of whom are comfortably off, to leave.

    The fund has now decided to double the sum for every new immigrant, and to offer $10,000 in the hope that it will persuade Iranian Jews to come to Israel.

    If the Jews do decide to come to Israel as whole families, they will also receive thousands more dollars: $2,000 for a head of family and $1,500 for a mother and each of her children. More than $1 million has been invested in the fund, and it is operated by means of one of the major aliyah organizations in Israel. Unconnected with the grants, the new immigrants also receive the regular absorption basket like other immigrants, as well as mortgages on easy terms.

    The news of the grant has been published on an Israeli Internet site in Persian, which has been launched in order to convey vital information on the process of aliyah. It has also been reported on Israel Radio’s Persian-language service, and is being passed on by means of various organizations and relatives to Jews in Iran.

    Some 20,000 Jews live in Iran, mostly in Tehran. It is the largest remaining Jewish community in the Arab states. According to reports, many of them are comfortably off and free to practise their religion and provide religious education for their children. Given that, most are not interested in leaving Iran. However, Iran’s Jews visit Israel a lot to see their relatives, and Israelis of Iranian origin pay family and business visits there. Iranian Jews who live in the United States also make frequent visits to family in Iran.

    “In contrast to the previously laughable sum, we are now talking about a sizeable sum, and if a whole family decides to make aliyah, they will receive tens of thousands of dollars – a serious sum that could really persuade Jews to leave there and come to Israel, and assist in their absorption here,” Ma’ariv was told by sources that are dealing with Iranian immigrants.

    Source: NRG Ma’ariv website, Tel Aviv, in Hebrew 8 Jul 07

  • “Some 20,000 Jews live in Iran, mostly in Tehran. It is the largest remaining Jewish community in the Arab states.”

    Trust the Beeb to not know the difference between Arabs and Persians. This is what passes for “informed commentary” in “intellectual circles”, I guess. Pathetic.

    Oh, and Apartheid?

    Why don’t you go ouside and play hide and go fuck yourself?

  • Ephraim: It’s Ma’ariv that called Iran an Arab state. BBC just translated Ma’ariv’s article.

  • Clearly us Persian Jews are not as materialistic as has been implied by both the post and the comments, or they would have taken the cash. One other thing: not every Persian-Jew I know owns a German made car. Every Persian Jew I know donates good money to Israel and Jewish causes.

  • I’m with Rabbi Yonah on this. We’re talking about Persian Jews. Forget about tradition and identity – the offer is going to have to be a lot higher.

    Do you realize how insulting this comment is?

    We all know the negative stereotypes associated with Persian Jews (well, at least those of us that live in California prolly do).

    But to take such stereotypes at face value, and to shameless author a post proclaiming that Persian Jews are money hungry and require Mercedes Benz incentives that other Jews don’t, is on some bullisht.

    I would think a “Rabbi” would have more respect for the idea of am yisrael and try a little harder to resist the temptation to perpetuate negative stereotypes of Persian Jews as materialistic.

  • Lori, I contribute to someone who works on getting Jews out of Iran one by one.

    Many cannot leave because of the danger to their remaining relatives. But there are many who are financially successful and the monies being offered here would essentially reduce them to pauper status once they would get out.

    Such materialism is quite normal human nature. No one would want to be in such a person’s shoes.

  • 1st- A little Ahavas Yisrael would be nice during these “nine days of Av.

    2nd-Rabbi Yonah usually posts some great thoughts…but brother you must get your head out of LA, Cali. NY is close to the sterotype you joke about but is different. It is certainly not a representation of other Persian Jewish populations in other American cites. I know you meant a joke but sometimes we should keep it to ourselves.

  • I am an argentinean Jew. When a few years ago there was a huge economical crisis in the country, the Jewish Agency representatives thought the 200.000 of us would made alia. Only 10.000 did. Other 5.000 went to differentes countries (specially USA, Spain and Latin America)

    Why? Because Diasporic Judaism is well-rooted. Not every Jew in the Diaspora wants to make alia.
    We love Israel. We defend it. We put our hearts and wallets for it. But we also like the country where we live. Is that so hard to understand?

    Iran is an unusual country. It’s government is the XXI century’s worst enemy of the Jewish People, but the Iranian Jews live far better than its Bahai neighbors.
    Whether an Iranian Jew would make alia depends not on the amount of money you give him, but on his ideology and religious views.
    You won’t make a good Zionist with dollars…

  • Thank you, for setting up my next point for me. How many American Jews are Zionist in ideology, but won’t leave because living in Israel would mean a less lucrative life for them? French Jews? Argentinians? Canadians? I could go on and on. Maybe we as Jews could show a little bit of compassion for the Jews of Iran and their situation, rather than seeing their situation for its entertainment value.

  • Lori, it’s not only about the $$$$$. Many Jews don’t move because… we don’t move! There’s not a single reason for it.

    I’ve a Zionist all my youth (I teach Jewish History and Zionism for jewish youth counselors), but I hate Zionist Historiography. When I was 12, I was taught that all Jews lived happily in Judea until the Romans came and kicked all of our ancestors out…

    But, truth to be told, there were always Jews outside Eretz Israel, even in times where there was a Jewish Kingdom…
    (as we read last week’s parasha, a couple of tribes decided that Jordan was better than Cnaan and no one complained, as long as they helped their brethen conquer the Promised Land).

    There were always Jews outside Eretz Israel, and there will always will. And thats it.

  • This might be a reason why the Jews of Iran have not left:

    Frank Nikbakht, an Iranian Jewish activist and director of the L.A.-based Committee for Minority Rights in Iran, said a substantial number of Jews have stayed in Iran because they feel they will face economic and cultural challenges if they leave the country.

    “Some successful and resourceful Jews [in Iran] have either a false sense of security or are willing to take risks, hoping to outlast the regime,” said Nikbakkht, “while some have converted to Islam or other ‘safer’ religions such as Christianity to help them survive.”

    Check out the article here:

  • allow me to enlighten you that in israel being persian is now very very very “in”..

    whether food or culture or the mere success of the community.. backed by rita – israel’s highest paid performing artist..

    parsi is awesome.. dont make any mistakes..

    people are very proud to say that they are parsi and no one looks down at them for a second..

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