NEW YORK (Jun. 13)
As bad as their situation was under the rule of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Jews of Iran may find themselves in even more precarious straits under his successor.
That is the opinion of Rabbi Shlomo Berger, director of the Near and Middle East Section of the Agudath Israel of America. He is considered to be an authority on Iran’s Jewish community, which is said to number between 25,000 and 30,000.
“While Khomeini was alive, the Jewish community encountered hardship and suffering, but the political atmosphere was relatively stable and they usually had a clear idea where they stood,” Berger said.
“Now, with various factions rivaling for control, the uncertainty in itself compounds the precariousness of the Jews’ situation.”
Berger, who heads Agudath Israel’s world-wide assistance efforts for Jews in distress, said his office is besieged by telephone calls from Iranian Jews who settled in the United States in recent years, seeking information about events in Iran.
He said his organization has received updated information from Jews who left Iran after Khomeini’s death. But he would not be specific.
“We are monitoring the situation very closely. It’s time to be alert and to pray that things will work out favorably,” Berger said.