Why Israel Keeps Quiet on Median Jewry

The Israel government keeps absolutely silent on the question of core Median Jewry and core Median Judaism and some may wonder why? Most Median Jews in the Middle East would not be negatively affected by an official Israeli recognition of core Median Jewry as Jewish. However, the situation of those Median Jews who live as minorities in Arab Muslim societies is reason enough to withhold premature recognition since those communities definitely could be negatively affected by an official Israeli recognition and may even suffer persecution. There must be safe evacuation routes to ensure that such Median Jews can safely arrive in the Jewish national home in Israel. This is not a trivial matter since the safety and security of significant numbers of human beings is at stake and Israel would be responsible for ensuring their safe relocation to Israel, something that is easier said than done. 

However, there is another reason for withholding premature recognition of core Median Jewry and core Median Judaism and that is that the religious leaders of core Median Judaism might feel forced to issue denials unless the Aliyah (immigration) to Israel of their communities is already ensured. Such denials would be very negative for the entire Aliyah process and hence the need to avoid premature recognition.

The onus however, is really on the West. Is the West ready to apply sustained preemptive economic diplomatic pressure on Erdogan not to place any obstacles in the way of Median Jewish Aliyah to Israel? What does Israel need? 1) Uninterrupted diplomatic relations with Turkey so that Israeli immigration visas can be issued to prospective new immigrants, 2) free access to Turkey for Aliyah envoys from Israel who would help collect documentation from prospective immigrants proving their Median Jewish ancestry, generally promote Aliyah and issue airline tickets to prospective new immigrants; 3) a continued open skies agreement between Israel and Turkey and 4) that religious leaders and lay members of Alevism and other denominations of core Median Judaism in Turkey are allowed to openly promote the Jewish nature of all the denominations of core Median Judaism. These are the four basic requirements that are essential for facilitating Median Jewish mass Aliyah to Israel from Turkey and quiet Western sustained economic diplomatic pressure on Turkey is essential to ensure that all four requirements are fulfilled.

Iraq does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and Aliyah envoys can therefore not be active in areas ruled by Baghdad although Aliyah envoys could operate semi-clandestinely with regional government approval in the KRI (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) which is under the rule of the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government). Most Median Jews in Iraq are Kurdish, yet many Median Jews live in areas of Iraqi Kurdistan outside of the control of the Kurdish autonomy and would therefore have to travel to the KRI and from there emigrate to Israel. It is unknown what the KRG thinks of Kurdish Aliyah (one third of all Kurds are Median Jews) but it is safe to assume that the KRG is not particularly enthusiastic about it to put things mildly although preventing Aliyah would completely destroy the KRG’s ties with Israel and the organized American Jewish community, something that the KRG hardly can hardly afford considering that major American Jewish organizations lobby for the Kurdish cause in Washington. The KRG is therefore not expected to do anything to disrupt or prevent Median Jewish Aliyah but will rather duly play their role in facilitating mass Aliyah as the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) did in the early 1950s. However, there is certainly need for strong Western international pressure on Baghdad to ensure that Baghdad does not take steps to prevent Median Jewish Aliyah to Israel considering that “Zionist activity” is strictly forbidden under Iraqi law.

There are in practice no prospects whatsoever for a renewed JCPOA since Iran under no circumstances will give up the significant progress it has made in uranium enrichment beyond what was agreed upon in the JCPOA. Iran is very likely to continue to play for time and the US will of course entertain hopes for a post-JCPOA nuclear agreement. This “diplomacy” is likely to continue up until the point when Israel destroys the Iranian nuclear weapons program in late 2022 or early 2023. Will the US at that point in history be ready to impose a no-fly zone on Iran that will trigger armed rebellions with US air support in the ethnic periphery of Iran? This will allow the establishment of KRG-style regional governments de facto independent of Tehran and the US will also be able to intermittently bomb Iranian nuclear installations to ensure that the Iranian nuclear weapons program never recovers. 

This will open the way for Aliyah for most Median Jews in Iran with the exception of the Zoroastrians who do not live in the ethnic periphery. Would facilitating Aliyah to Israel be a major consideration in implementing a no-fly zone for the Biden administration? No doubt so. The US historically paid vast sums of money to allow Romanian Jews to emigrate when they lived under Communist rule and the US exported enormous amounts of grain to the Soviet Union which facilitated the emigration of hundreds of thousands Soviet Jews. In fact, there are more Median Jews in Iran than there were rabbinic Jews in the former Soviet Union and President Biden certainly very much cares about the fate of the indigenous Jewish nation. There are 2-3 million Median Jews in Iran, most of whom are Yarsanis but also others who are Alevis, Bektashis, Yezidis, Zoroastrians as well as the Mandaeans who are pre-Median, originally Sumerian Jews. A no-fly zone is absolutely required for Median Jewish Aliyah from Iran or else Median Jews will no doubt remain trapped in Iran.

Syria and Lebanon are a special case due to the proximity to Israel and the Mediterranean Sea of Median Jewish regions of Syria and Lebanon. Israeli annexation of those regions is thus in practice the only option. A joint IDF-SDF strategic operation in Syria and Lebanon in response to Hezbollah’s expected massive rocket/missile barrages against urban Israel is certainly required and such an operation would establish an Aramean Christian state (Aram), annex Median Jewish (Alawite and Druze) regions to Israel and let an AANES-ruled Syria annex the remainder of Lebanon. The likely point in time when the Israeli government makes public the existence of Median Jewry to the Israeli public and to the world is during the joint IDF-SDF operation in Syria and Lebanon after the destruction of the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Up until that point the Israeli government is likely to keep absolutely silent on the issue of core Median Jewry.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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