The Jewish community in Iran is facing a new wave of serious infections, as several Jews there are fighting for their lives and at least four Jews have died in recent days from the coronavirus, the B’Hadrei Haredim website reported on Monday (היהודים באיראן מתמודדים עם גל תחלואה קשה).
According to Iranian media reports, 258 people have died from the pandemic on Sunday in the country – the highest daily figure since December 10. The widespread wave of infections is threatening the Jewish community in Iran whose members have not yet been vaccinated. Vaccines are not widely available currently in Iran.
Synagogues in Iran were closed by order of Chief Rabbi Yehuda Gerami, mainly in the cities of Tehran and Isfahan, where the Jewish community is experiencing a widespread wave of Corona infections.
According to reports, many young people in Iran are becoming infected and some require artificial respiration. The Jewish hospital in Tehran is struggling to meet the heavy demand and many wards there have been converted to treat Corona patients, as the country suffers an increase in mortality from the pandemic.
The Iranian Ministry of Health has announced new restrictions in 257 cities around the country. A lockdown was declared on Sunday, which will last at least ten days. As part of the restrictions, businesses, schools, and cultural facilities were forced to close and gatherings were banned throughout the month of Ramadan, which begins this coming Wednesday.
According to sources in the Jewish community in Iran, since last Passover, many members of the Jewish community have been infected by the fourth wave of infection that has swept across the country. On Passover, all synagogues were open as usual throughout Iran, and families gathered in celebration of the seder nights and the holiday. Last year, Iran was under a tight lockdown and on Passover, the Jews had to bake matzos on their own in the courtyards of their homes. The synagogues were closed and barred.
Iran’s Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority group by the government, and, like the Zoroastrians and Christians, they are allocated one seat in the Iranian Parliament. Siamak Moreh Sedgh is the current Jewish MP, having replaced Maurice Motamed in the 2008 election. In 2000, former Jewish MP Manuchehr Eliasi estimated that at that time there were still 60,000–85,000 Jews in Iran; most other sources put the figure at 25,000. In 2016 Jewish population was 9,826. As of 2018, only 8,500 Jews still live in Iran and they constitute 0.01% of the Iranian population, a number confirmed by Sergio DellaPergola, a leading Jewish demographer. (Wikipedia)