Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Members of Iran’s small Jewish community staged a demonstration outside of the United Nations’ office in Tehran, to protest the Israel Defense Forces’ operation in the Gaza Strip.

The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported that community members, alongside Jewish parliamentarian Siamak Mara-Sedq, urged Israel to do its part to return quiet and security to the region.

The chairman of Iran’s Jewish Union, Rahmatullah Raafi, said the community had come out in support of the Palestinian people.

“We are here to express out support and sympathy for the Palestinian nation,” he said, adding that Muslim nations could rise up as a single large force against Israel. He also said that the victors of the current conflict were the residents of Gaza.

Israeli sources familiar with the Iranian Jewish community suspect that the demonstration was organized by the government in Tehran, and does not represent that actual stance of Iranian Jews.

Some 25,000 Jews still live in Iran. Many have visited Israel, where a large percentage of the community has immigrated in the past 30 years. Still, others prefer to remain in Iran. There are rarely reports of the community suffering from antagonism or aggression from their neighbors or from the government.

-- Ha’aretz

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