The future of bilateral Iran-Israel relations

The Jerusalem Post:

Both Iran and Israel have never been so aware as they are today of the positive and beneficial consequences of a close relationship and historic friendship.

Iran and Israel can boast a unique and exceptional socio-historic and cultural relationship going back over 2,500 years, and many Iranians and Israelis believe that this very rich common background is capable of changing the face of the Middle East in the first decades of the 21st century, and also of changing the political atmosphere in the future to the benefit of both nations – and this in spite of the terrorist atrocities we have suffered in the first 12 years of the new millennium——————

The strong and rich relationship between Iran and Israel goes back to ancient times, to the era of King Cyrus (Iranian Zoroastrian ruler 559-530 BCE), who allowed the Jews to return home to build the Temple. There are several warm mentions in the Bible with respect to Cyrus and the Iranians (in Isaiah, Daniel and Chronicles). Many distinguished Iranian scholars assert that only the Iranian Jewish communities cared for and cherished the pre- Islamic Iranian culture and language.

In brief, we can express this historic relationship in a nutshell and say, “If the Jews had not been in Iran we would not be aware of our background, and if the warm feelings of Iranians for the Jews had not existed, the destiny of God’s Chosen People may well have been different.”

Many scholars believe in the deep relationship between Iranian and Jewish literature.

Elkan Nathan Adler and Wilhelm Bacher were two of the most famous who were working among the Iranian Jewish communities in Central Asia in the late 19th century.

The relationship between the Iranian and Jewish communities of Israel which existed during the era of the Achmenids (529-330 BCE) was further enhanced in the Ashkanian period (247 BCE – 226 CE) who together fought to resist the Greek invaders (in cooperation with the Hasmoneans). During the Sassanid dynasty (226-641 CE) the Jewish universities of Sura and Pumpedita were extremely distinguished.

After the Arab-Islamic invasion (638 CE) the situation changed, but there were several outstanding examples like the medieval Jewish army commanders Rashid-al-Din Fazl-Allah, Sa’ad al- Dowleh, Shams al-Dowleh and many others.

Prior to the Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979) the relationship between the Iranian and the Jewish communities was not so good, but a real transformation took place during this period. Official and formal diplomatic ties between the two countries began in 1950 and ushered in a fruitful period of cooperation and development. In January 1979 the new rulers kicked out the Angel of Freedom, whereas 50 million young Iranians want to bring her back to the country.

………………………… IRAN, AS one of the largest countries in the Middle East, with a population of 75 million, has the potential to be one of Israel’s best friends in the world. Such a bilateral friendship could greatly benefit both sides, and together with the warm relations with Turkey and Central Asian countries, it would certainly transform the current ugly political situation in the region.

In the future Iran can be responsive to many of Israel’s desires and needs, such as oil and many other mineral resources. Iran’s prominent position in OPEC and other international bodies will of course make it a serious supporter of Israeli foreign policy. The future Iranian generation’s appetite for peace is stronger than its appetite for war. In a calm atmosphere without any regional tension Iran will certainly open its gates to Israeli expertise in the oil field and other technical areas to benefit from its know-how and cooperation……………………………..



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