“Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools. It has two kosher restaurants, and a Jewish hospital, an old-age home and a cemetery. There is a Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament.”
“There are about 100 synagogues in Iran of which about 26 are in Tehran.”
“Despite the offence Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has caused to Jews around the world, his office recently donated money for Tehran’s Jewish hospital.
It is one of only four Jewish charity hospitals worldwide and is funded with money from the Jewish diaspora – something remarkable in Iran where even local aid organisations have difficulty receiving funds from abroad for fear of being accused of being foreign agents.
Most of the patients and staff are Muslim these days, but director Ciamak Morsathegh is Jewish.
“Anti-Semitism is not an eastern phenomenon, it’s not an Islamic or Iranian phenomenon – anti-Semitism is a European phenomenon,” he says, arguing that Jews in Iran even in their worst days never suffered as much as they did in Europe.”