Why are Iranian Jews so attached to Iran?

In view of the above, how to explain the unwavering attachment of Iranian Jews to Iran? This article, by an Iranian-Jewish lecturer, provides some clues. Jewish loyalty and affection for Iran clearly goes back thousands of years to pre-Islamic times when Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews, held as captives in Babylonia, to return to the land of Israel and build the Second Temple. Without Cyrus, it has been argued, there could have been no Judaism.

Since 1978 many Iranian Jews have lived away from Iran, the land they considered home for over 2700 centuries. During this second diaspora, they have truly demonstrated their love and attachment to Iran and Iranian culture. However, such ties may appear counter-intuitive since in the past twenty five years the Iranian government has been one of the major founders and supporters of terrorism against their religious homeland, Israel. The recent threatening comments by the elected president of Iran have only served to exacerbate the situation. Nevertheless, in spite of all the hardship endured as a minority in the past, and the anti-Israeli slogans they hear now, the passion for Iran and its culture does not fade away from the hearts and souls of most Iranian Jews.

Unlike many European Jews, even those who left the old country before the Holocaust, Iranian Jewry has been persistent in the preservation of their language, traditions and Iranian identity. Such deep-rooted sentiments have had their bright and dark moments throughout history. Despite all the hardships and forced conversions, the Jews have survived in Iran because of their loyalty to their religion and the ties they have developed through time with the land and the people. Their flexibility and acceptance of the new culture, as well as occasional tolerance of the regimes, and the personal relationships they have developed combine to form this deep attachment.

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(Thanks to Albert for pointing out this interesting Iranian-Jewish website)

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