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American Jews Welcome the Shah of Iran’s Visit; Cite His Friendship

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American Jewish groups today warmly welcomed the arrival in the United States of the Shah of Iran, a staunch friend of the Western Powers whose liberal treatment of the Jews of Iran is indicative of his progressive inclinations.

Jewish leaders pointed out that under the reign of the young ruler the lot of the Jews in Iran has greatly improved and is better than at any time in contemporary history. Various world Jewish organizations have been permitted to build their networks of schools, vocational training centers and social and medical services in the Jewish community. These have gone far to wipe out illiteracy and the worst diseases indigenous to the area.

Under the young Shah, Jews of Iran have begun to return to Israel, reviving the legendary glory of Cyrus of Persia under whose rule the first great return of the Jewish people to the Holy Land took place. Then, the Jews started out, with the support and gifts of that great Persian king, to rebuild the Second Temple. Since 1948, when Israel was established, over 20,000 Iranian Jews reached the Jewish State. American Jewish leaders expressed their hope today that this living bridge will pave the way for friendship between Iran and Israel.

The Joint Distribution Committee is now operating in Iran, giving aid to 17,000 Jews and feeding 5,700 children in its canteens. The ORT operates schools in Teheran, Shiraz and Isquahan where 1,900 Jewish students receive vocational training. The Alliance Israelite Universelle teaches 8,000 Jewish children in its 23 schools in Iran, while other educational institutions provide education for 3,000 more children of school age. The Jewish community in Iran, which numbers about 80,000 persons, dates back to the destruction of the First Temple.

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