The Islamic Republic of Iran exerted pressure on the nation’s tiny Jewish community to not celebrate the end of Passover on Friday and instead participate in the annual anti-Israel al-Quds Day demonstration that calls for the destruction of Israel.
Beni Sabti, an expert on Iran from the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “there is a silent pressure and everyone knows their role in this regime and the regime won’t hurt you” if you demonstrate in the al-Quds Day march.
Sabti, who was born in Tehran and speaks fluent Persian, added “And if you don’t demonstrate, you will be harmed.” He stressed the Iranian Jewish community has to show support for the al-Quds Day demonstration in order to “survive” in the totalitarian Islamic state. He noted that many Iranian Jews are being harmed and avoid greater danger by participating in the al-Quds demonstration.
The founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, created al-Quds Day in 1979 as a worldwide demonstration to protest the existence of the state of Israel.
Iran’s Jewish community announced on Monday on its social media platform Telegram to its estimated 9,000 members: “Please do not go for picnics or enjoyable activities on al-Quds Day.”
#Iran #Jewish community tries to survive under lots of restrictions-Jewish leadership commitee asks the jews not to celebrate the end of #Passover2023, but to join #Quds day ceremonies against #Israel !! pic.twitter.com/85tG0VCg3d— BenSabti (@BeniSabti) April 9, 2023
The Jewish community said that Iranian Jews should “care about Muslim sensitivity” and celebrate Passover a week later.
In a second message, the Jewish community wrote there is an “Invitation to participate in [the] al-Quds Day demonstration. According to our holy bible, every Jew has to stand against oppression against human beings. When we are approaching al-Quds Day, the Jewish community of Iran will participate in demonstrations against the Zionist regime and will declare their disgust with the Zionist policies against human beings. The Iranian Jewish community is separated from the Zionists. We are with Iranians and Muslims.”
Jews have to be "very,very careful" in Iran
The meeting place for Iranian Jews to participate in the al-Quds Day demonstration is the one of the more famous synagogues in Tehran, Abrishami, located in the center of the capital. Sabti said there are an estimated 7,000 Jews in Tehran.
Jews have to be “very, very careful,” in Iran, he added. Iranian Jews are “always under restrictions.”
Sabti continued that “the regime sometimes sends IRGC or Basij into synagogues to see if they are talking about Israel or against the Iranian regime.” The reason for sending Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its domestic militia force, the Basij, into synagogues is because Iranian Jews talk about “ancient Israel” and “regime wants to see if they are talking about modern Israel,” said Sabti. The US designated the IRGC (and its subsidiary) as a foreign terrorist organization.
Iran expert Sabti added that usually a few dozen or 50 Iranian Jews show up for the al-Quds Day march to show “sympathy for the regime and al-Quds Day. “Iranian Jews live under strict regime control and also donate money to organizations and mosques against Israel.”
Most of Iran’s Jews fled the Islamic Republic of Iran after the 1979 revolution. At least 80,000 Iranian Jews lived in Iran during the Shah’s period. The Islamic Republic rulers executed many Jews in the nascent revolutionary time of the Islamic Republic. The regime has continued to arrest and imprison Iranian Jews over the years for being in contact with family members in Israel. The regime has also filed trumped-up charges against Iranian Jews, many of whom have been imprisoned, based on false charges of spying for Israel.