Iran’s Jews have given the country a loyalty pledge in the face of cash offers aimed at encouraging them to move to Israel, the arch-enemy of its Islamic rulers.
The incentives — ranging from £5,000 a person to £30,000 for families — were offered from a special fund established by wealthy expatriate Jews in an effort to prompt a mass migration to Israel from among Iran’s 25,000-strong Jewish community. The offers were made with Israel’s official blessing and were additional to the usual state packages it provides to Jews emigrating from the diaspora.
However, the Society of Iranian Jews dismissed them as “immature political enticements” and said their national identity was not for sale.
The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported that the incentives had been doubled after earlier offers of £2,500 a head failed to attract any Iranian Jews to leave for Israel.
Iran’s sole Jewish MP, Morris Motamed, said the offers were insulting and put the country’s Jews under pressure to prove their loyalty.
Despite the absence of diplomatic ties with Israel, Iranian Jews frequently go there to visit relatives.