Iranian Jews Offered $10,000 Each to Come to Israel


What’s It Like to Be a Jew in Iran?

I can’t help but hear about Jews in Iran and ask, “What are they thinking?”

But that is my bias.

It is an easy jump to align the situation of today’s Iranian Jews with pre-World War II era Germany because of the parallel rhetoric of Hiter and Ahmadinejad.

You may be surprised to learn that Jews in Iran report feeling relatively secure. They do not express a sense of danger or desire to escape. In a community of 25,000, only 150- 300 accept offers to immigrate to Israel each year– and these numbers are dropping.

The $10,000 Offer

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is offering every Iranian Jew $10,000 to immigrate to Israel. That’s in addition to the stipend they would automatically receive from the Jewish Agency under their Right of Return.

The Fellowship’s original offer of $5,000 met with so few takers that they doubled the incentive.

To date, $1.4 million has been raised in support of this project.

One Israeli’s Reaction

I spoke with Sara Fahima Badani, 79, who came to Israel with the first wave of Iranian immigrants in 1950. What did she think of this recent development?

“Ten thousand dollars,” she said shaking her head. “We should have waited.”

Learn More About the Iran’s Jewish Community

One of the best articles I read on this subject came from The Forward: “Iranian Jews Reject Outside Calls to Leave.” It provides an excellent overview of the situation for Iranian Jews as a whole.

The article reports: “Jews are permitted to practice their faith as a community on the condition that they remain out of politics and do not speak out in favor of Israel.”

Approximately 80% of the Jewish community left in the Islamic Revolution in 1979, and those who stayed had low mobility (being elderly, monolingual Persian speakers, lacking external ties, etc).

Sam Kermanian, a well known member of Los Angeles’ Persian Jewish community comments: “Given the situation and the current climate, some Jews there will say things are not too bad, but the totality of the picture is negative.”

Amir Cyrus Razzaghi, a non-Jewish Iranian journalist explains: “There is a genuine interest to keep the Jewish community in Iran to demonstrate to the world that the government is anti-Israel and not anti-Jewish. This is especially important to a government that strives to be not only the leader in the Islamic world, but also a key regional and global player.”

Somehow that all sounds a little too familiar.

About the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

The International Fellowship of Christian and Jews’ mission is that “Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000 year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, understanding, respect, and cooperation.” (Sounds good to me.)

Its four primary programs are:

  • On the Wings of Eagles: helping Jews immigrate to Israel
  • Guardians of Israel: assisting survivors of poverty, terrorism, and war
  • Isaiah 58: supporting children and elderly Jews in the Former Soviet Union
  • Stand for Israel: mobilizing Christian supporters on Israel’s behalf

Want to Learn More?


“Israel Philanthropy Update: 40 Iranian Jews Arrive in Israel with Help of Jewish Agency” (200 Iranian Jews made aliyah in 2007, up from only 65 in 2006)

For more information on Jews from Arab countries, I highly recommend the documentary film, “The Forgotten Refugees.”

A Favor From You

Now I would like to ask from you, my readers, a favor. I know that I have a number of Christian readers who are involved in Israel support organizations.

I would love to hear your voice and experiences: how your organization was founded, its primary goals and target audience, how it achieved its fundraising success, etc.

Please leave me a comment or e-mail me at mnorton [at] I want to learn from you.

Photo Credit

Photo sourced from The Moderate Voice. Photographer: Ramin Farahani. With thanks.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned tomorrow to hear why Avichai Kremer thinks that “orphan diseases” like Lou Gehrig’s Disease should be a Jewish priority.


14 Responses to Iranian Jews Offered $10,000 Each to Come to Israel

  1. […] “Iranian Jews Offered $10,000 Each to Come to Israel” […]

  2. Arab says:

    They should leave Iran since it will get attacked soon.

  3. thenewjew says:

    Maybe so, but it seems they are throwing their lot in with their country. If there is an attack, we’ll see what happens then.

    By the way, your website has a very attractive design.


  4. […] Iranian Jews Offered $10,000 Each to Come to Israel (Profile: International Fellowship of Christians and Jews) […]

  5. […] “Iranian Jews Offered $10,000 Each to Immigrate to Israel” […]

  6. mehdi says:

    hi plz help me
    immigrate t oisrael

    • Maya Norton says:

      Hi Mehdi,

      You posted this comment ages ago, but I’m just seeing it now– apologies! Do you still have this question? I need some more information. Are you Jewish? Why Israel?

      Hope to hear back from you,

      ~ Maya

  7. rad says:

    Hi im from iran. And my English is not good
    Plese help me I want live in Israel the government of iran hill
    People very eusy I think our probleme is aslam I hate isalm and mohamad
    Alotof Iranian people ave very poor but our contry is very rich we
    have gas oil but the government of iran robber so I have the govrement
    of iran and ulso islam perhaps I travel out of iran and I want visit
    one of your ambessy I hope some day I live in Israel and I hope some
    day I become a solder for Israel .
    Please give me in formatin how can I become a isaeilian pople I love
    Israel because Israel is enemy of the govroment of iran of iran so I
    like Israel and
    Evry contry like Israel.
    Iwant bring my wife and myson to

    • Maya Norton says:

      Hi Rad,

      I’m sorry but I am just seeing your comment now. It didn’t come up in my e-mail or comments updates.

      I’m answering a similar question for Taher, who commented below you. Can you tell me if you are Jewish or not? Why do you want to come to Israel?

      I’ll get back to you on this shortly.

      ~ Maya

  8. […] Iranian Jews Offered $10000 Each to Come to Israel « The New Jew … […]

    • taher says:

      im from iran plzz help me i weant come to isreail and be new jew and hate islam im engeneering and finishd it 4 month ago
      i want live in esrail i hate iran and axun i like chirst and jew and give all of service to esrail in addition we r 3 people

      • Maya Norton says:

        Hi Taher, I’m listening to you and am going to contact some people who may be able to help and get back to you.

        You are Muslim and want to convert to Judaism? Is that what I hear you saying or did I misunderstand and it’s more that you want to get out of Iran?

        ~ Maya

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