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Iran pressures Iranian Jews to participate in al-Quds Day, join anti-Israel march during Passover

Political pressure is used to present false image of religious coexistence

Iranian Jews pray at the Abrishami synagogue at Palestine street in Tehran Dec. 24, 2015. (Photo: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA)

According to an Iranian expert at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, Iran is pressuring its Jewish community not to celebrate the eighth day of Passover, a holy day for many Jews in the diaspora, but instead to participate in the annual “al-Quds Day” demonstration. 

Ben Sabti told The Jerusalem Post that “there is a silent pressure and everyone knows their role in this regime and the regime won’t hurt you” as long as you participate in the anti-Israel protests. 

Sabti stated on social media on Sunday that the “Iran Jewish community tries to survive under lots of restrictions – Jewish leadership committee asks the Jews not to celebrate the end of Passover, but to join Quds Day ceremonies against Israel.” 

Sabti shared pictures from a Telegram channel of the Jewish community in Iran, which warned members, “Please do not go for picnics or enjoyable activities on al-Quds Day.” 

Another message reads: 

“Invitation to participate in the Quds Day event. According to our holy Bible, every Jew must oppose the oppression of human beings. As Quds Day approaches, Iran’s Jewish community will participate in demonstrations against the Zionist regime and express its disgust with Zionist policies against human beings. The Iranian Jewish community is separate from the Zionists. We are with Iranians and Muslims.” 


Quds Day (also al-Quds Day) is an annual pro-Palestinian event held by the Iranian regime on the last Friday of Ramadan. Quds Day is meant to serve as a counter to Jerusalem Day, in which Israelis celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem following the 1967 Six-Day War. 

Quds Day is rife with anti-Israel protests and activities. Following Iran’s leading, and making use of the high levels of anti-Israel sentiment in the Muslim world, Quds Day celebrations have spread to other Muslim countries. 

The Iranian government has repeatedly stressed that it is not anti-Jewish, but only anti-Zionist. It often points to the Jewish population of Iran as proof that it has nothing against Jews. 

Sabti, who was born in Tehran and speaks fluent Persian, says there is a lot of pressure on Jews in order to survive in the Islamic state. 

“If you don’t demonstrate, you will be harmed,” he said, noting that Jews have to be “very, very careful [and] are still subject to restrictions.” 

Sabti related that the Iranian “regime sometimes sends IRGC or Basij into synagogues to see if they are talking about Israel or against the Iranian regime.” 

Basij, one of the five subdivisions of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is often used to suppress protests and impose crackdowns on the Iranian people. 

Most Iranian Jews, like Sabti’s family, fled Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Sabti estimates that only around 9,000 Jews still live in Iran, most in the capital city of Tehran. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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