Monday, May 22, 2006

Iranian Jews in Israel worry for former homeland

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Tehran-born Israeli Meir Javedanfar fondly recalls sitting around a television set with his Muslim friends back in Iran drinking copious cups of sweet tea while proudly watching the national soccer team play.

With a growing crisis between the West and Iran over its nuclear program, Javedanfar is among many Iranian Jews living in Israel who fear a possible attack on their former homeland.
"I am strongly against any war with Iran as I do not want to see Iranian people hurt," said Javedanfar, a 32-year-old Iranian analyst, staring at the lapping waves on the beachfront of Tel Aviv, an Israeli city where many Iranian Jews live.

The history of Iran's Jewish community, once over 100,000 strong, stretches back over 2,500 years to the ancient Persian empire. They are sometimes called "Esther's Children" after a Jewish queen of Persia.

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