Tuesday, May 30th | 10 Sivan 5783

June 1, 2020 12:58 pm

Thousands of Iranians Said to Contact Israel’s Foreign Ministry to Request Asylum

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avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

A rally in Los Angeles supporting pro-democracy protests in Iran, January 2018. Photo: Reuters / Monica Almeida.

In recent weeks, thousands of non-Jewish Iranians have been sending messages to Israel’s Foreign Ministry asking for help in escaping Iran and even immigrating to Israel.

Israeli news site N12 reported on Monday that the requests had come in public and private messages sent to the Foreign Ministry’s official Farsi-language Instagram page.

The Foreign Ministry stated that there were so many inquiries that the ministry had found it impossible to handle the volume.

“We receive tens of thousands of comments each day in private messages and comments on the posts themselves asking to receive asylum in Israel,” said Yonatan Gonen of the ministry’s Digital Diplomacy Department.

It is believed that the rush of requests is due to the dire economic situation in Iran and especially the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the country especially hard.

Gonen said Iranians may also want to come to Israel because “they probably see in various publications that Israel leads in various fields of technology and is a free and democratic country.”

“Some are also being persecuted in Iran by the authorities,” he added. “They want to get away and believe that Israel can help them.”

Gonen noted that Iranians might be further attracted to the Farsi-language Instagram page because it included a great deal of information that was censored in Iran itself, such as material on the regime’s persecution of dissidents and involvement in terrorism.

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