January 19, 2001 Special Dispatch No. 179

'Testimonials' About Jews in Iran on the Website

January 19, 2001
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 179

The website, which hosts the official website of Iran's "Supreme Leader" (Rahbar-e-Moazzam) Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, contains information on a variety of Iranian issues, including biographies of prominent Islamic leaders of Iran, Islamic religious decrees (fatwas), information regarding Hizbullah and the Hamas, Islamic sermons etc.

A main section of the site is devoted to Jews and Jewish life in Iran as "witnessed" by Iranian Jews themselves.

Following are excerpts from the site:1

"Eliyason, an Iranian Jew, says: 'Sometimes I think they are kinder to the Jews than they are to themselves. ...If we are gathered in a house and the family is having a ceremony with wine or the music is playing too loud, if they find out we are Jews, they don't bother us too much.'"

"'I believe it is good for women to keep their head covered. I think it is good to restrict relations between boys and girls. I agree with the ideals of the Islamic republic. These are Jewish values too.' So says Arizel Levihim, a 20 year old Iranian Jew, claiming that Judaism fares well within the confines of Iran's strictly religious society."

"'The funny thing is that before the Islamic revolution, you would see maybe 20 old men in the synagogue. Now the place is full. You can barely find a seat.' Nahit Eliyason, a 48 year old Jewish woman shares changes among Iran's Jewish community, brought on by the Islamic revolution."

"Yashaya, an Iranian Jew, claims: 'We are Jews, not Zionists. We are a religious community, not a political one.'"

1 The website,, is supported by the United Muslims of America." The address of the official website of Iran's leader is

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