As Israel continues to thwart the Islamic Republic of Iran’s terrorist activities in the Middle East and inside Tehran, the ongoing protests inside Iran, despite the government crackdowns, many Iranian Jews and Israelis are continuing to have hope that the regime’s fall is near in the future and that Iran will resort to its pre-revolution relationship with Israel and the Jewish community.
Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamic followers, Iran under the monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran, and Israel had strong relations at a time when the Jewish state was surrounded by Arab states seeking to wipe it from the face of the map. Following the takeover of Iraq under the Baath party, Iraqi Jews fled to Iran, where the Shah welcomed them as citizens of his country. Under the Shah, Iranian Jews in Iran flourished, building new businesses, products, and services, contributing heavily to the Shah’s vision of a modernized Iran.
The friendly relations between Tehran and Jerusalem allowed for agricultural cooperation, allowing Iran to have flourishing crops and new farming technology and techniques. Iran and Israel also hosted sports events, with Israeli soccer players coming to Tehran to play against the Iranian team. In terms of security cooperation Iran and Israel cooperated against Arab aggression, terrorism, military buildup, intelligence gathering, and military training, strengthening Israel’s small military and making the Iranian army the fifth largest in the world.
Before the revolution, Iranian General Manouchehr Khosrodad brought several endangered Iranian yellow deer with help from the Imperial Iranian Air Force. Today more than 300 yellow deer thrive in Israel’s Mount Carmel region, along with a plaque honoring him.
Following the 1979 revolution, both nations went from beloved friends to bitter rivals that have lasted for several decades. Since 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has supported terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Assad regime in Syria, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad against Israel, providing military training and weaponry to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians. Iranian Presidents ranging from Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Ebrahim Raisi have given speeches vowing to wipe out the “Zionist regime” using any means necessary, bragging about the country’s nuclear program development and goal to obtain an atomic weapon.
In response to Iran’s aggression, Israel has responded openly and covertly against the Islamic Republic, killing terrorist-proxy leaders, Iranian nuclear scientists, and top officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Israel has also struck critical military infrastructure inside Iran, including ammunition factories, weapons depots, and cyberattacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Following the protests on September 22 over the death of Mahsa Amini and the regime’s forces feeling overwhelmed by the protests, many Iranian Jews and Israelis have stood side by side with the people of Iran, calling for the downfall of the mullahs in Tehran and for a democratic Iran where Jews and Iranians can live together in peace.
Should Iran fall in the near future, not only will Israel’s number one threat be subdued, but the Middle East will become a less volatile place for Jews and Arabs, given that Islamic terrorism will have lost its primary state backer. Additionally, Jews living in Latin America, Europe, America, and other parts of the world will be much safer with the death of the Islamic Republic, given that the Ayatollahs will no longer have the ability to threaten or attack the Jewish diaspora.
Many Iranian Jews who left following the 1979 revolution will have the opportunity to visit their homeland without fear of being arrested or threatened by the government. Should a new government replace the Islamic Republic and renew ties with the Jewish state, both countries will regain their relations and engage in the economic and military cooperation they had before the Shah’s downfall.
While this vision of peace might seem distant in the future, the only thing that can make this a reality is for Iranian Jews to continue to raise awareness of the protests in Iran and call on the Biden administration and Congress to get tougher on the Islamic Republic and not negotiate with the regime over its nuclear program.
“The views expressed in this post reflect the views of the author(s) and not UCLA or ASUCLA Communications Board.”