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Israel and Iran have ‘biblical relationship,’ says exiled Iranian crown prince on historic visit to Jewish state

Pahlavi attends Holocaust memorial event, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, Apr. 18, 2023 (Photo: Reza Pahlavi/Twitter)

Former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who is visiting Israel for the first time, attended a ceremony at Jerusalem’s World Holocaust Remembrance Center, Yad Vashem, on Monday night, which marked the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. 

After the ceremony, Pahlavi referred to the ancient relationship Iran, or Persia, has had with the Jewish people as a “biblical relationship over centuries.” 

“My compatriots are very proud of their history, a history that dates back 2,500 years, when Cyrus the Great helped free Jewish slaves and helped rebuild their Temple,” Pahlavi said, stating that it was his duty to commemorate the Holocaust in Israel. 

“Today, when we have a regime that denies that the Holocaust ever occurred, it was my duty to be here, representing my fellow compatriots to honor the victims of the Holocaust and to pay my respects to this nation and its people,” he said. 

Pahlavi mentioned King Cyrus on social media upon arriving in Israel on Monday, when he and his wife were received by Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel.

“We are very happy to be here and are dedicated to working toward the peaceful & prosperous future that the people of our region deserve,” wrote Pahlavi on social media. “From the children of Cyrus, to the children of Israel, we will build this future together, in friendship.” 


Speaking about the importance of commemorating the Holocaust, Pahlavi quoted Jewish author Elie Wiesel: “Without memory there is no hope.” 

Gamliel thanked Pahlavi for visiting Israel for the Holocaust commemoration. 

“We appreciate the crown prince’s expression of solidarity with the citizens of Israel in the face of the severe terrorist attacks perpetrated by Iran, as well as his visit to Yad Vashem on the occasion of Holocaust Day in order to sympathize with the Jewish people, in contrast to Iran’s rulers who deny the Holocaust and encourage anti-Semitism,” Gamliel said.

Following the ceremony, Pahlavi visited with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While no details of their meeting and conversation have been released, pictures of the two together were widely circulated on social media. 

In the past, Pahlavi has been critical of discussions about attacks on Iran, instead advocating for assistance to resistance groups within Iran. 

In a recent interview with Maariv news outlet [Hebrew], Pahlavi said that, instead of a direct confrontation with Iran, Israel and other countries should help the Iranian people, themselves, topple the government. 

“With the regime, negotiations don’t help anything,” Pahlavi said. “Obviously, no one wants war. Including Israel. Therefore, we are left with the only option left – the Iranian people themselves. All the people of Iran are your allies. There is a popular army that exists in Iran. We don’t need foreign intervention to help them.” 

Pahlavi said the Israeli government was already aware of the issues regarding an attack on Iran and said the people of Iran do not want a foreign nation attacking. 

“The nation [Iran] does not believe in an attack from outside,” he said. 

The crown prince suggested helping resistors with internet access, and helping Iranian expatriates who have fled the regime, to be able to send money to “good guys” in the country. 

“What frustrates the Iranian diaspora is the impossibility of helping,” he said. 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani was dismissive of Pahlavi’s Israel visit. 

“Neither the person you’ve mentioned [Pahlavi], the purpose of this trip, nor the place he wants to travel to are worthy of discussion,” Kanaani said. 

Pahlavi is expected to visit an Israeli desalination plant, as well as the Bahá’í temple and gardens in Haifa during his visit. 

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

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