Yesterday, I blogged on hatred for Israel in Iran. But this report from Debka illustrates that while there is public scorn for Israel, there is a groundswell of clandestine support for the Jewish state.
This week, Israel’s Iranian-born defense minister Shaul Mofaz made the unique gesture of answering questions from listeners in Iran ñ in their own language – in a live broadcast over Israel Radio’s Farsi-language service.
Shaul Mofaz was only six when his family emigrated from Iran to Israel. His knowledge of Farsi is rudimentary at best. But that didnít stop the Israeli defense chief from getting his message across to a stream of callers from the Islamic Republic who appealed to him for help on Israel Radio’s Farsi service this week.
One caller from a city in central Iran asked when Israel and the Jews would finally repay their historical debt to Cyrus the Great and rescue the Iranian people from the dread ayatollahs, just as US President George W. Bush had helped the people of Iraq and Afghanistan throw off their oppressors.
Mofaz, admitting he was not in the miracle business, wished the Iranian people success in their struggle for freedom. But then a stream of callers pleaded for Israel to intervene to help overthrow the Islamic regime. The defense minister replied it was up to the Iranian people to determine its fate. But he also mentioned the United States role in the region and said the Americans still had much work to do after prevailing in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran and Syria were still there as key elements of Bushís axis of evil.
This reply brought forth a chorus of listeners who wanted to persuade the Israeli minister that the Teheran regime was more of a danger to the region and the world than Saddam Hussein had ever been.
A woman caller, a Muslim, then recalled tearfully the disappearance eight years ago of the son of Jewish neighbors who had never been heard of since being caught in flight across the border with Pakistan.
At the end of the 50-minute program, Mofaz said he would never have imagined the depth of sympathy for Israel entertained by ordinary Iranians – in sharp contrast to the violence and hate emitting from the rulers of the Islamic Republic. The gap between regime and people was dramatic. A lot of this sympathy is born of the Iranian peopleís historic resentment of their Islamic rulers and the Arabs, who invaded their country 1,400 years ago, destroyed Iranian culture and forced the populace to embrace Islam.
This report suggests to me that there is hope for peace and democracy in the middle east after all, as long as the reasonable people are able to stand up against their brutal leaders.