Hebrew is still taught in Iran – but only on Fridays

Reza Zarabi is the Jerusalem Post‘s Persian blogger.In a wide-ranging Q & A with JPost readers, Zarabi tackles questions on Iranian-Jewish relations:

Sami Eini, New York: I heard that Jews in Iran could only inherit property if a child converts to Islam. Is this correct? Also that the headmaster of the Jewish schools must be a Moslem. None are Jews.

Zarabi: Regarding property rights, Iran, like many other countries in the region, is a patriarchal society, regardless of religion. For example, if a father dies, the son’s inheritance will be more than the daughter’s. This has nothing to do with religious affiliation whatsoever, so that assumption is not correct. Regarding Jewish schools, because of the implementation of the Sharia, the school curriculum is both Islamic and and Jewish now. The Tanakh is taught in Persian, rather than in Hebrew. However, the Ozar Hatorah organization still conducts Hebrew lessons on Fridays, the day that most Iranians do not attend school or work.

David Firester, Tikrit: I am currently deployed in Iraq as a US soldier. I am curious as to where anti-Semitism comes from in Iran. Is it derived from education, media, or some other form of indoctrination? Is it even a prevalent concept at all? It always interests me to know to what degree anti-Semitism is present in Iran if at all it can be found in the general populace.

Zarabi: There is no prevalent Anti-Semitism among the people of Iran. Jewish and Iranian history, although quite different, have intersected at certain times in the past. Iranians are highly educated, therefore, they know and appreciate this fact. For example, the Jewish prophet Esther was also the Queen of Iran and the Jewish prophet Daniel was a highly appointed figure during the Achaemaneid dynasty, the founders of the Persian Empire. There is no Wahabi-like indoctrination of children in Iran. The regime continues to vilify Israel as the “Zionist entity” yet this notion does not resonate with the average Iranian.

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