Thursday, December 27, 2007

Publicity might endanger Jews remaining in Iran

The recent arrival of 40 olim from Iran was well publicised in the world's media - even attracting Arab interest. But could the publicity endanger those Jews still living in Iran? The Jerusalem Post reports.

"Israel's decision to publicize the arrival of a group of 40 Iranian immigrants Tuesday was intended to send a message to Iranian Jewry that they are wanted here, and that if emigration from Iran were one day prohibited, no one could say they did not have a chance to come to Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

"The decision to publicly reveal the Iranian Jews' arrival - something that has been kept secret in the past - was made in consultation between the Jewish Agency and other governmental bodies to send a message to the remaining Iranian Jews that the sooner they decide to leave Iran the better, the Post was informed.

"Not everyone, however, was happy with the decision. One source involved with the Iranian Jewish community expressed concern that publicizing the group's arrival, at a time when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was saying that Israel's Jews should be sent to Canada or Alaska, could complicate matters for those 25,000 Jews still in Iran.

"According to this source, the decision had less to do with sending a message to Iran's Jews, and more to do with gaining positive publicity for the Jewish Agency and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the organization granting a $10,000 gift to each of the immigrants.

"Another source said there was concern that the publicity could lead to an increase in surveillance of the Iranian Jewish community. The source said the publication also served to counter recent statements made by Iranian Jews declaring how good life was for the Jewish community there.

Read article in full

Meanwhile, the Iranian regime has reacted by marching out the community's leaders to do their PR damage control: see Karmel Melamed's post

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