Hashomer Hatzair
Photo: GPO

Iranian ambassador surprises guests at Israeli book event

Iranian envoy to Chile attends gathering marking the release of book about Zionist youth group

The guests at an event in the Chilean capital of Santiago, marking the release of a book about Hashomer Hatzair, included none other than the Iranian ambassador to the South American nation, Kambiz Jalali.


The Chilean Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the Chilean Jewish community, sent out invitations to the event to diplomats in the capital, including apparently the Embassy of Iran.


Moshe Baker, from the Israeli embassy in Santiago, was quite surprised to see the Iranian ambassador at the book launch. At first, he was convinced the Iranian must have arrived by mistake, however after a brief conversation with the diplomat it became clear that Jalali knew exactly where he was.


The Israeli diplomat explained to Jalali that the book was about a branch of the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement in Chile, which had been created by German Jews who immigrated to the South American country before World War II.


Jalali did not seem surprised to hear this. He responded by asking Baker if he was aware that there was a Jewish community in Iran, free to practice their religion, and with two representatives in Parliament. Baker responded that he was indeed aware of this.


'It’s nothing personal'


Shortly after the beginning of their conversation, Jalali leaned over and whispered: "I have to tell you something, but don't be offended, it's nothing personal. We are forbidden from speaking with Israeli diplomats."


The Israeli attaché responded, saying he would respect the Iranian's wishes but that as diplomats they are supposed to communicate with each other in order to encourage understanding between their two sides.


"The conversation was very amicable. I sat next to him and explained to him what the event was about because, at first, I thought he had gotten confused and arrived at the wrong place," Baker told Ynet. "After all, we are talking about a very Zionist event. The panel (at the event) brought up the War of Independence and the Iranian ambassador listened very closely.


"Perhaps his participation derives from the separation that there is in Iran between the Jewish community and Israel," the Israeli diplomat noted.


פרסום ראשון: 10.08.07, 11:38
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