Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interesting Random Fact about Jewish Rights

There are three nations that I am aware of who's constitutions specifically refer to the rights of its Jewish citizens. The three nations are Israel, naturally. Ireland, seriously. And Iran, what !

Israel: Naturally the worlds only Jewish state has incorporated Judaism into many aspects of its constitution.

Ireland: The 1937 Constitution drafted primarily by Eamon De Velera's famously noted in article 44 the "special relationship" of the Catholic church. A lesser known provision of article 44 enshrines the religious rights of Ireland's Jewish minority. Eamon De Velera was very close to members of Ireland's Jewish community most notably Robert Briscoe who probably influenced his decision on this. I must confess though that I have cheated a little bit here. Article 44 was deleted in the "Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Act of 1973" after a hugely controversial referendum following a rigorous debate on the role of the church in the state.

Iran: For all the madness of the Khomeini regime one area where the revolutionary leader was not as bad as people might have feared was when in came to anti semitism. The revolutionary constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran specifically mentions the religious rights of Persia's ancient Jewish community. Most Jews left of were expelled from the Arab and Muslim states of the Middle East after the foundation of Israel. This did not happen in Iran although the Jewish population has reduced dramatically since the 1979 revolution from 100,000 to 25,000 today. Life for the remaining Jews is tricky to put it mildly not least because many of the Jews who left Iran moved to Israel. Judaism may be tolerated in Iran but Zionism is not. This has left Iran's Jews in an exceptionally awkward situation when it comes to keeping in contact with family in Israel. Paradoxically though, as relations between Iran and Israel appear to be coming to a potentially catastrophic climax, rules regarding Iranian Jews traveling to Israel seem to be relaxing. In recent years the authorities in Iran have allowed its Jewish citizens to travel to Israel, via a third country, to visit their relatives and return unmolested.

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