Furia Hajaran, an Iranian-born Jew, has long since dreamt of living in Israel and recently that dream has come to include that life alongside Samana, a Muslim woman from his home country. Hajaran has realized his dream of coming to Israel but Samana has not been allowed to join him. Now he asks – help me save my wife.
Hajaran, 21, was born to a Jewish mother and Muslim father and received word he would be drafted to the Iranian military some four years ago. In Iran members of all religions are recruited and Hajaran realized that the only way to avoid service was to disappear and live on the run.
It was then, during his university studies, that he met 22-year-old Samana, a Muslim. The two fell in love and decided to wed and turned to a Teheran rabbi, who explained to them that in Iran, it was illegal for a Muslim to convert to Judaism. Eventually the couple married in a traditional Muslim wedding.
Because of Hajaran's risky standing with the law, the newlyweds fled to Turkey almost a year ago. Hajaran was quickly granted Israeli citizenship and he left Samana in Turkey in the hopes of securing her the authorizations needed to join him. But here the story takes a turn for the worse.
An Iranian Muslim – 'a security risk'
"Somebody with the Jewish Agency told me that there wouldn't be any problem for my wife to come," said Hajaran, who currently resides in an absorption center for new immigrants in the port-city of Ashdod. "They told me that if I say that my wife is waiting for me we will get the authorization and that is why I came here. I didn't think I would encounter any problems in Israel."
The State refused to allow Samana to immigrate and the ministry of the interior confirmed that the decision was based on security concerns. Meanwhile Samana has been arrested by Turkish law enforcement since she does not have the necessary papers to remain in the country. For the time being she is being held in custody until her fate is determined.
Hajaran at the immigrant absorption center in Ashdod (Photo: Herzel Yosef)
Hajaran says he doesn't only want Samana with him for the sake of their marriage but because he fears for her life should she be deported back to Iran, where she faces a likely death sentence. "She cannot go back to Iran, they know she wanted to become a Jew, it says in her file that she wanted to come to Israel, it's very dangerous for her," he said.
Sarah Lewis, an attorney devoted to helping immigrants who is handling Hajaran's case, said the State did not thoroughly examine Samana's background before denying her entry. "They did not truly check is this young woman poses a risk to the public, since she is from a Muslim nation that was enough to label her a threat," said Lewis.
'In our bible it says you must help everyone'
Hajaran is at a loss for how to deal with his wife's frightening situation and he has no funds to pay for a lawyer in Turkey. "Every night I cry," he said, "when I came to Israel ten months ago I weighed 170 lbs., now I weigh 130 lbs."
Now Hajaran has turned to the media in the hopes of changing the State's decision and help him save his wife: "I only want to ask the government of Israel and the people here to help me. I love my wife and I told them it was dangerous for her. We are Jews, in our bible it says that you must help someone even if they are Muslim or Christian. I ask that you help us, because in Iran they might kill her.
"From my experience – every problem has a solution," he said, still optimistic. He also hopes that he will be allowed to join the IDF. "My contribution to the country is to go to the army. If my wife comes or doesn't come – I will enlist. For the country and for its people. But as much as I want to help the country, I want someone in the country to help me as well."
The Shin Bet said in response to the request put forth by Hajaran: "We hand over our security recommendations regarding the entry of foreigners from dangerous countries, including Iran, according to security assessments. These recommendations are examined by the supervising echelons in the State of Israel. According to the set security standards, this case does not allow us to grant entry. However, individual cases can be examined as exceptional by the authorized bodies in Israel.