Thursday, February 02, 2006

Young Iranian Muslim visits Israel

Making the headlines in the Israeli press lately has been a young Iranian Muslim on a visit to Israel. His purpose: to build bridges between the two peoples, even though he knows his visit to the 'Zionist enemy' willl probably mean he will never be allowed back into Iran.

Hossein seems quite surprised at the number of Iranian-Israelis living in Israel. Most Israelis he meets greet him with warmth and enthusiasm - with the exception of the Iranian Jewish shop-owners on the Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, whose bitter experiences of the Iranian regime are probably still fresh in their minds. Here's why Hossein wanted to go to Israel:

"Some people keep forgetting that Iran and Israel are closer than ever to a war. And this is exactly why I'm here.

"I, as the peace activist who wants to make bridges and the citizen journalist who wants to humanize both sides for one another have not chosen to focus on the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Because it's a very complicated issue that I don't have enough expertise to explore, let alone comprehend and report about. I don't know any of the two languages of the two sides and haven't read enough to even have a specific opinion about the conflict and take sides.

"Does it mean that I don't care about it? Does it mean that I think Iran-Israel conflict is more important than Palestine-Israel? Of course not. But when I have limited resources (knowledge, time, and money), it's my right to chose my focus.

"In the past few days, I've meet with many Iranian-Israelis and have recorded extensive interviews with then in Persian. About their life in Iran, in Israel, and their hope and plans for the future. I'm going to meet a few more and interview them too. This is one side of the story."

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