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March 3, 2016 3:40 pm

Gay Iranian Novelist Seeks Asylum in Israel

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Iranian poet and novelist Payam Feili. Photo: Facebook.

Iranian poet and novelist Payam Feili. Photo: Facebook.

JNS.org –  At a time when Iran is known for its hostile attitude towards Israel, openly gay Iranian poet and novelist Payam Feili this week described how he found himself living in the Jewish state.

“The more I gained a reputation outside Iran, the harder it became for me to live in Iran,” Feili said during a Jerusalem press conference regarding his native country, which executes LGBT individuals, the New York Times reported. “Long before I left Iran, I thought that the only other place in the world I could live was Israel.”

Feili said that when he was still in Iran, he began working with an Israeli to translate his latest novella into Hebrew. This caused Iranian government loyalists to write articles accusing him of immorality and collaborating with the enemy. He escaped to Turkey in 2014 after being detained several times, and was able to enter Israel on a temporary visa as a visiting artist three months ago.

“The regime was pressing me to leave the country,” Feili said. “I got afraid. People warned me that the articles could be a harbinger of worse things to come.”

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Before fleeing Iran, Feili already had an existing interest in the Jewish state after he watched movies about the Holocaust and read the Torah as a young man. Modern Israel “is exactly as I expected and even better and more beautiful,” he said.

Feili is living in Tel Aviv, which is home to a vibrant LGBT community. He is seeking asylum in Israel and has tattooed a Star of David on his neck.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Iran’s nuclear chief denied Israel’s legitimacy as a country in the latest anti-Zionist rhetoric emanating from the Islamic Republic.

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  • Dr. Rafi Mevorach

    Rachel, you’re kidding, aren’t you? If not, if you are really serious, then I must opine that you are no better than the Iranians who wish to kill Mr. Fieli.

  • mortang Saul

    Rachel…..prejudice of your kind is unbelievable

  • mortang Saul

    Ms Cohen: You should be ashamed of yourself for your
    hateful comments. Have you no decency!! or compassion?

  • Friend Of Israel

    “Meanwhile, on Monday, Iran’s nuclear chief denied Israel’s legitimacy as a country in the latest anti-Zionist rhetoric emanating from the Islamic Republic.”

    That’s perfect, because when Tehran and other major iranian cities re turned into glass parking lots (20 minutes after Iran’s missiles are destroyed after launch), then the iranians can realize “look what the HAND OF GOD has done to us!”

  • marc sloane

    Clearly, to offer this man Israeli citizenship would be in keeping with the highest values of Judaism. Israel is indeed a beacon of freedom and human rights in a part of the world rife with repression, and outright barbarianism.

    The is man suffered greatly for his personal life, and political views.

    Now, when we are living in a world where Jews are faced with the worst anti-Semitism since the Nazis, and Jews are demonized on campuses, in the press, and by governments world-wide…we must not lose sight of the mitzvah of offering this man his dignity, and chance at to leave a a fulfilled life.

  • Rachel Cohen

    It would be Cultural Marxist insanity for Israel to take in a Sodomite.

    • I’m very sorry, but your response is an embarrassment. An Israel displaying your backwardness and narrow-mindedness would not be an Israel worth fighting for.

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