Amid reports of an Israeli cyberattack on an Iranian port earlier this month, thousands of Iranians have been turning to Israel for asylum in Israel, Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated on Tuesday night.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Iranian citizens appealing for asylum to Israel.
“I grew up in a politically mixed family,” one Iranian wrote to the Foreign Ministry on one of the digital platforms that the ministry runs in Farsi. “Two of my uncles were executed by the Ayatollah regime. My father sat in prison for eight years and three of my other uncles – who were also imprisoned – escaped and live today in Australia.”
“I am also in and out of prison for political reasons. I want to escape this slow death. Israel is my dream. Please help me, please.”
According to the Foreign Ministry, Iranian requests to immigrate to Israel are on the rise on all possible platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and emails.
Message friendship to all the peoples of the world,especially the people of Israel and the USA#IranIsraelFriendship @IsraeliPM @IsraelMFA @IsraelMaVie @Europe_Israel @IsraelPersian @IsraelFrancais @IranIsraelfr1 @israelipm_farsi @netanyahu @IsraelLovesIran @karine_meg @JoeKacew pic.twitter.com/VzNxPytKlp
— Mahssâ (@Mahsajml) May 19, 2020
“It’s thousands of inquiries, all the time, every day, in lots of variations,” said Sharona Avginsaz, who is responsible for the Farsi media department in the Foreign Ministry. “We’ve come to the point that we no longer allow direct contact or Facebook or Twitter. I have to say that I once tried to answer each one personally – but the scope is so large that I can’t answer them all. We also have no way to help them.”
Other applicants say they left Iran because they oppose the regime and fled with family members to Turkey and are now seeking help. Many inquiries come from Iranians who have fled to Turkey and Greece and are there in refugee camps.
“There are also thousands of inquiries from within Iran,” Avginsaz said. “There’s no post [on social media] I look at that doesn’t have many Iranians asking how to immigrate to Israel. Some say that they discovered that their grandmother on their father’s side was Jewish and ask how it’s possible to come to Israel.”
Some of them also request medical assistance. “Many times we tried to check if it’s possible to help from a medical standpoint but since it’s a hostile country there’s really no possibilities of helping,” Avginsaz added.
Some of the requests are from known Iranian citizens who got in trouble with the authorities. One came from a well-known athlete who fled Iran after she got into trouble for being photographed with Israeli athletes abroad – and was seeking assistance from Israel.
“When there are really extraordinary requests and we can verify the identity of the person, we pass the request on to other authorities to see if they can help. The requests are very emotional and indicate real distress. My heart really goes out to them,” Avginsaz concluded.
Yiftach Curiel, head of the Department of Digital Diplomacy, said: “We are active in the various Persian social media channels with close to a million followers and our content reaches almost five million people every week in Iran and abroad. Out pages receive a lot of interest from the Iranians who are happy to express their support to Israel, contrary to the Iranian regime’s position.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)