Menashe Amir (Hebrew: מנשה אמיר, born 27 December 1940) is a long time Persian language broadcaster on Israel Radio International, a channel of Kol Yisrael (lit. "Voice of Israel"). He is a former head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's Persian language division. He is also a leading Iranian expert in Israel and a former chief editor of the Foreign Ministry's Persian website.
Menashe Amir was born in Tehran, Iran, on Dec. 27, 1940 in a secular Jewish family. He grew up in the ancient Jewish quarter called "Mahaleh". His primary education was in a Christian missionary school called "Nour-Va-Sedaghat", and he continued his secondary education in two Jewish schools named "Etehad" (Alliance/Unity) and "Kourosh" (Cyrus) He began his journalist's profession at the age of 17, at the Kayhan evening newspaper. Amir made aliyah (immigration) to Israel on Oct. 19 1959. He has been working as a journalist and a broadcaster for over 55 years, and broadcasting to Iran for over 52 years. Amir became popular in Israel during his coverage of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. In 2006, he founded the Persian version of the Israeli Foreign Ministry website, and served as its Chief Editor for 4 years. Currently retired from his post in the Israel Broadcasting Authority, he continues to host his radio program.
Radio program at "Kol Yisrael"
Amir hosts a daily 1.5 hour radio program in Persian, which is broadcast every evening to Iran on shortwave radio. The program includes a call-in portion, with Iranian listeners calling a special number in Germany. While no hard data is available the show is apparently popular in Iran, and some experts estimate that up to 5 million Iranians listen to it. Beside political discussions, the program also broadcasts music banned in Iran. Iranian newspapers often denounce the radio as the "Zionist regime radio", and refute the radio program assertions.
In the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the "Zionist radio and the bad British radio" for misleading the public. This was widely interpreted as a reference to Menashe Amir's program on Kol Yisrael and a reference to BBC Persian.
Literary and Journalistic Life
Menashe Amir has been active in reporting on Iran and the history of Iranian Jews since more than a half a century. His latest work "Iran, Jews, Israel" is the edition of his years of interviews with Amnon Netzer Israeli specialist of Iranian Studies, which has been published 2014 in Israel in Persian. An English edition of the book is forthcoming.
- THE JERUSALEM POST's Interview with Menashe Amir, September 17, 2006.
- IRAN’S FOREIGN POLICY AND DRIVE TOWARD NUCLEAR WEAPONS, US State Department Panel Discussion with Menashe Amir and his mini-biography, May 22, 2008.
- Persian-Israeli radio makes waves, Ynet.
- Israel's defence establishment is looking east with concern, BBC, 11 August 2004.
- Listening to Iran, CBC, August 27, 2008.
- After Rebuke, Bush Officials Voice Support For Israel Plan Israeli Sends Signal to Iran Over Airwaves — In Persian, The Forward, December 26, 2003.
- Israel Radio Often Finds Best Friends Are Iranian, The New York Times, February 20, 1998.
- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in address at Friday prayers, Daily Telegraph, 19 Jun 2009.
- Israeli Radio Show Captivates Iranians, Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.