Iranian Jews refuse cash offer to move to Israel

Iranian Jews have declined generous cash offers designed to lure them to Israel, according to the Britain's Guardian newspaper.

Iranian Jews refuse cash offer to move to Israel
Iranian Jews have declined generous cash offers designed to lure them to Israel, according to the Britain's Guardian newspaper.

The newspaper said incentives - ranging from £5,000 (7,400 euros) a person to £30,000 (44,000 euros) for families - were offered from a special fund established by wealthy expatriate Jews in a bid to provoke a mass migration to Israel.

The offers to members of Iran's 25,000-strong Jewish community, were said to have been made with Israel's official blessing in addition to the state packages it provides to Jews emigrating from the diaspora.

However, the Guardian said the Society of Iranian Jews dismissed the offers as "immature political enticements" and that their national identity was not for sale.

"The identity of Iranian Jews is not tradable for any amount of money," the society said in a statement. "Iranian Jews are among the most ancient Iranians. Iran's Jews love their Iranian identity and their culture, so threats and this immature political enticement will not achieve their aim of wiping out the identity of Iranian Jews."

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported that the incentives had been doubled after offers of £2,500 (3,700 euros) a head failed to lure any Iranian Jews to Israel.

According to the Guardian, Iran's sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, dismissed the offers as insulting and put the country's Jews under pressure to prove their loyalty. "It suggests the Iranian Jew can be encouraged to emigrate by money," he said. "Iran's Jews have always been free to emigrate and three-quarters of them did so after the revolution but 70% of those went to America, not Israel."

Iran's Jewish population has dwindled from about 80,000 at the time of the 1979 Islamic revolution but remains the largest of any country in the Middle East apart from Israel. Jews have lived in Iran since at least 700BC.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Temmuz 2007, 22:35
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