Leaders in the community have long been stressing the difference between Judaism and Zionism in order to distance themselves from Israel and prevent Iranian Jews from being considered pariahs.
Iranian Jews pray at the Abrishami synagogue at Palestine street in Tehran December 24, 2015..
(photo credit: RAHEB HOMAVANDI/REUTERS)
The Chief Rabbi of Tehran sent a message in Hebrew to the “Zionists, first and foremost to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu” while appearing on Iranian state television during Quds Day on Friday.
“We, the Jews of Iran, want to send this message to Zionists, first and foremost to Netanyahu,” said Rabbi Yehuda Gerami, on Friday.
“Know that you Zionists do not represent Judaism and do not represent the Jewish people. You represent only the idea of a political movement whose ideas and values contradict the ideas and values of our sacred teachings and the Jewish religion,” Gerami said.
“We strongly condemn your aggression and emphasize to the whole world – there is a big difference between Judaism and Zionism,” he added.
The Jewish community in Iran, numbering about 8,000, live in the Islamic Republic under the constant shadow of accusations of espionage and dual loyalty.
Leaders in the community have long been stressing the difference between Judaism and Zionism in order to distance themselves from Israel and prevent Iranian Jews from being considered pariahs in Iranian society.
Rabbi Gerami visited the home of the late IRGC commander, Qasem Soleimani, to offer condolences along with other members of the Iranian Jewish community after the commander’s assassination by US forces in January.
During the visit, he claimed the Soleimani was a martyr, saying of martyrs, that “they chose the path of justice. They chose to fight evil. They became martyrs to protect the oppressed. All our monotheistic religions respect the memory of the martyrs.”
However, since protests erupted in October, there have been signs that the Iranian anti-Israel propaganda machine may finally be malfunctioning. On Friday, protesters were seen taking down anti-Zionist Quds Day propaganda posters.
In January, videos circulated on social media showing Iranian student protesters at Tehran’s Beheshti University parting as they approached large flags of both Israel and the US, taking pains to avoid stepping on them.
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