Peres Offers Jewish History Lesson to Iran

Tells Ahmadinejad About Deep 'Roots' in Region

By Reuters

Published September 27, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli President Shimon Peres offered his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a history lesson on Thursday, saying his lack of knowledge about the region was an embarrassment.

The outspoken Iranian leader raised hackles in Israel on Monday when he said Israelis had been occupying their territory for no more than 70 years. “They have no roots there in history,” he added during a visit to New York.

Meeting a group of children in Jerusalem, 89-year-old Peres said Ahmadinejad should have known better.

“It was an embarrassing speech which showed a deep historical ignorance with regard to the deep historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel,” he said, adding that Ahmadinejad did not even know the history of his Persian ancestors.

The name Israel first appeared at the end of the late Bronze Age and Israelite tribes were living in the area more than 3,000 years ago, archaeologists say.

Shortly after 600 B.C., Babylonian forces swept through the lands and forced Jews into exile and captivity. But in 538 B.C. the Persians in turn conquered Babylon and King Cyrus let the Jews return to their old homeland.

“Around 2,500 years ago King Cyrus, the King of Persia, granted the Jewish people led by Ezra and Nechamia the right to return to Israel and to rebuild their home. The Jews lived on the land of Israel for thousands of years and there is no lie or leader that can remove chapters of history,” Peres said.

The Jewish rulers of Jerusalem were crushed by the Roman empire and modern-day Israel was founded in 1948 as imperial Britain withdrew from Palestine.

Israel is at loggerheads with Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, saying that if Tehran develops an atomic bomb it might use it to try to destroy the Jewish state. Tehran says its nuclear industry is for purely civilian purposes.

Peres said he would write to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and ask him to pass on a written history of Israel and Persia, adding the two nations had known “great friendship”.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • The Cossacks were a feature in every European Jewish kid's worst nightmare. Tuvia Tenenbom went looking for the real-life variety in Ukraine — but you won't believe what he found. http://forward.com/articles/202181/my-hunt-for-the-cossacks-in-ukraine/?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.