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Israel’s Persian-language website attracts

BBC Monitoring

Text of report in English by Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post website on 22 August

[Report by Herb Keinon: "Iranians send love and hate emails to Israel"]

The "Dear Israel" emails steadily flowing into the foreign ministry since the inception of a Persian-language internet site last month range from those wanting to incinerate Israel to those wanting to convert to Judaism and move here.

Menashe Amir, the editor-in-chief of the site, said Tuesday [21 August] that the ministry has received hundreds of emails since the site was launched on 9 July, and that his staff tries to respond to most of them.

One person wrote with a request for Israel to send weaponry so opponents of the Islamic regime could bring down the government. The response the ministry fired back, Amir said, was: "We don't deal with that."

To an email from a person expressing interest in converting and moving to Israel, Amir said his staff wrote that because of limited space and resources, Israel was focusing on bringing in Jews scattered around the worl! d.

Amir said the Iranian authorities had not yet managed to block access to the site, because the site was based on advanced technology.

Amira Oron, the head of the ministry's Arab Media Department, which is responsible for the site, said that one of the goals was to go over the Iranian government's head and provide information about Israel to Iranians born after the Islamic revolution. Unlike the older generation, which had contact with Israel before 1979, the younger generation has no knowledge of Israel beyond the hatred they hear from the government.

The ministry said it did not yet have statistics on site traffic.

According to Oron, the site features a wide array of articles that include Israel's responses to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad's anti-Israeli rants, news about the Iranian Jewish community in Israel, and news items dealing with domestic Iranian issues that are not addressed in the local press.

Oron said over half of the r! esponses, some of them from Iranians living abroad, were positive, but that there were "a few hostile ones". In the latter category was one missive that read: "No last gasps before expiration will help Israel; at the end of the day we will destroy you," and "Israel ignored the dangers of the Islamic Republic and now is reaping the fruits."

Oron also said there were those who offered assistance to Israel. One person wrote that he had secret information that he was willing to pass on, and another person, who worked in the Iranian equivalent of the State Comptroller's Office, said he could copy documents showing the corruption of Iran's leaders and forward it to Israel.

Finally, there were also those who expressed admiration for Israel, including one person who wrote, "We love Israel, and no efforts by the regime will change our mind." The internet site, called Hamdami ("camaraderie" in Persian), can be found at https://hamdami.com.

Source: The Jerusalem Post website, Jerusalem, in English 22 Aug 07


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