A statement published Sunday in the formal internet website of the Jewish community in Iran said that "the Jewish congregation in Iran censures the human rights violations of the Palestinians in the Gaza strip by the Zionists and is grieved by this occurrence."
The letter was signed by head of the Iranian Jewish congregation, Harun Ishayai, and the Jewish representative in the Iranian Parliament, Maurice Motamed. According to the two, "there is no good reason for the campaign of death being undertaken by Israeli soldiers to kidnap Palestinian government members and bomb population centers."
"We condemn this violent behavior by Israeli leaders and are sure that the Palestinian nation will firmly defend its right to exist and its other legitimate and natural rights," said the leaders of the congregation.
They added: "We deplore this aggressive behavior and are sure that it will exacerbate the situation with each passing day. Behavior such as this may lead to bloodshed among blameless men and women and among innocent children."
Operation antithetical to Jewish principles
Leaders of the congregation claim that the IDF operation is antithetical to Judaism: "We are aware that these actions are in no way related to principles of the Jewish faith, the precepts of Moses or the holy books. They are antithetical to the Jewish faith."
"We call upon Jews around the globe to speak out to the world in protest against the behavior of the soldiers and the Israeli leaders," they continued. "It is the mission of Jews, more than any other people, to prevent a policy that tramples upon the humane tenets of the Jewish tradition."
Iranian worshippers protest against Israel over weekend (Photo: Reuters)
Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Ishayai's recent interview with the Russian newspaper Gazzetta. During the interview, in response to a question, Ishayai said that Iran does not believe in Israel's right to exist and that the congregation "shares this viewpoint, as citizens of Iran."
Ishayai also said that the foreign press is mistaken in their reports that the Jewish community does not express their opinions because of pressure from the Iranian government.
In response to a question on the interaction between Jews and Muslims in Iran, he responded: "We pray in Hebrew, but speak to each other in Farsi."