Iranian Jews in Israel

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Iranian Jews in Israel
Total population
135,000+ [1]
Regions with significant populations
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
Hebrew (Main language for all generations);
Older generation: Persian

Iranian Jews in Israel refers to the community of Iranian Jews who migrated to Israel after the formation of the modern state and living within the state of Israel. They have a deep and strong connection to Iran, so overall Iranian Jews who immigrated to Israel or Israeli-Iranian and their descendants keep on using the Persian language and also hold a strong Iranian identity. At the same time most of the Iranian Jews are religious or traditionals and have a very strong and deep connection to the Jewish religion and to the state of Israel.

The Iranian Jewish community has a remarkable relationship with the Land of Israel, and it has been told that in every generation, since the Babylonian exile the Jewish community of Iran sent a messenger to check whether the Jews had started to return to the Land of Israel in order for them to also come back[citation needed].


In the late 1800s-1900s mostly strong religious Iranians Jews began immigrating to Israel. After the establishment of the state of Israel, the immigration to Israel was increased significantly. In 1952 under the Israeli mission, Operation Cyrus, approximately 30,000 Iranian Jews immigrated to Israel.[2] In addition, many Iranian Jews immigrated to Israel after the Iranian revolution in 1979.[3] Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution an additional 10,000 to 15,000 Iranian Jews immigrated directly to Israel, many others migrated first to the United States or Europe and then immigrated to Israel, mainly out of fear of the new Ayatollahs regime but also from lack of familiarity with Israel (Israel, in Iran, was seen as a country of infidels and atheists, a terrible thing to be in the Middle East; while most of the Iranian Jews are religious or traditionalists).[4] Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, over 134,000 Iranian have settled in Israel.[5] Some fled after Iran murdered a prominent Jew accused of "Zionism." [6] Israel continues to encourage the remaining Jews in Iran (less than 9,000) to immigrate since Israel sees the Jews of Iran as hostages of the Iranian regime, against Israel. In 2007 Israel offered monetary incentives to Jews in Iran to encourage Iranian Jewish immigration to Israel.[7] Jews of Iranian descent in Israel are considered part of the Mizrahim. In the 1950s the Israeli treatment of Iranian Jews was similar to the Israeli treatment of other Jews from the Middle Eastern and North African region.[8]

Kol Israel transmits daily radio broadcasts to Iran in the Persian language and Menashe Amir, an Iranian Jew, hosts a talk show that draws callers from Iran.[3]

Notable Israelis of Iranian descent[edit]

Rita Kleinstein, an Israeli pop-star, of Persian descent

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jews, by country of origin and age
  2. ^ Ram, Haggai (2008). "Caught Between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland: The Jews of Iran in Zionist/Israeli Imagination". Studies in Culture, Polity, and Identities. 8 (1): 86.
  3. ^ a b Torn loyalties of Israel's Iranian Jews
  4. ^ Ram, Haggai (2008). "Caught Between Orientalism and Aryanism, Exile and Homeland: The Jews of Iran in Zionist/Israeli Imagination". Studies in Culture, Polity, and Identities. 8 (1): 95.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tait, Robert (7 Dec 2007). "Iran's Jews Reject Cash Offer to Move to Israel". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 Apr 2013.
  8. ^ Goldstein, Judith (1998). Iranian Ethnicity in Israel: The Performance of Identity. New Jersey: Rutgers University. p. 388.
  9. ^ "NYC: Ex-Muslim to be ordained as rabbi". July 7, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.

External links[edit]