For the first time in the history of Jerusalem, a non-Jewish Iranian of Persian
heritage was invited to present a scientific topic in two parts.
first part was delivered in east Jerusalem, at the Palestinian Al-Quds
University and the second in West Jerusalem at the Hebrew University Hadassah
Medical School in Ein Kerem. Both parts of my presentation were attended by
students from both sides of the security wall, organized by the two
On July 10, I gave the first part of my presentation at
11:30 a.m. at Al- Quds University, then drove with the Jewish and Palestinian
students and faculty through the separation wall and presented the second part
at 3:30 p.m. at the Hebrew University.
At each university, I finished my
talk with a gift of love from Iran, the land of spring. At Al-Quds I read a poem
by Rumi (1207-1273) and at the Hebrew University, a poem by Hafez
Can our ancient collaborations in science be revived? After
searching through history, visiting libraries and travelling, still I cannot
find a single dark page in the 4,000 year-old Judeo- Persian
Indeed, Judeo-Persian history is deep and beautiful. The number
of Jews in Iran is underestimated.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians of
Jewish heritage currently live in Iran, some with and the majority without
After 2,500 years, Esther’s graceful place of rest remains
Esther, a Jewish Queen of the Persians, is buried in Hamadan,
After 2,600 years, Daniel the Prophet’s magnificent burial-place
also remains intact. Daniel is buried in Susa, Iran.
Over the centuries,
thousands of Persians, Jewish and non-Jewish alike have given their lives to
protect the tombs of Esther and Daniel against their enemies. Persians pay
homage to them regularly.
Even though Iran and Israel have never shared a
common geographic frontier, over the last 4,000 years scientists and researchers
of both nations have repeatedly shown their willingness and commitment to
interactive learning and collaboration.
Today, in several scientific
disciplines, the two nations have educated the brightest scientists in the
world. Their collaboration is the most effective key to prosperity and
Perhaps scientists should replace politicians in the Middle East
In scientific collaborations, the outcome is objectively measured
and individuals’ accountabilities are reported. Scientists, unlike politicians,
are comfortable with outcome measurement and committed to
Our ancient collaborations in science must be revived.
Iran and Israel’s scientific collaboration is the most effective key to peace
and prosperity in shaping the future of the Middle East.
The writer was
director of the University of Southern California Advanced Periodontics program
(1995-2012), founder of the Taipei Academy of Reconstructive Dentistry in Taiwan
and the first non- Jewish Iranian of Persian heritage to be the keynote speaker
at the Israel Dental Association Congress in Tel Aviv in 2012.