Jewish Legacies in Iran

bkyser on Apr 2nd 2012

In this article, Jewish Iranian-American author, Roya Hakakian, discusses the issue of a future war between Iran and Israel. She makes reference to the achievements in industrialization in Iran that are a result of the design and labor of two prominent Jewish families, the Nazarians and the Elghanians. The Nazarians are credited for the sewage system and laying the groundwork for many of the plans that have developed the city of Isfahan. The Elghanians are known for designing and building high-rise buildings in Tehran.

Hakakian also mentions that 20,000 Jews live in Iran today making Iran home to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel. The prospect of a future war between Israel and Iran, in Hakakian’s view, would be degrading and ignoring the contributions that each of these cultures has brought to each other. Looking at history, Cyrus the Great served as a savior figure for the Jewish people by giving them a home in Babylon. Also, during the Holocaust, many Jews left France through the help of Abdol-Hossein Sardari, the head of Iran’s diplomatic mission to France. Today, in Iran, as a result of this mission, there are Polish cemeteries where the descendants of Polish immigrants to Iran still go to pay their respects.

Roya Hakakian, “What Two Enemies Share,” The New York Times, February 25, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/opinion/sunday/iran-and-israel-share-bonds.html?_r=3 (accessed April 2, 2012).

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