A new “Iranian embassy” is due to open in Jerusalem next month.
However, this will be no ordinary embassy. It will be established as part of a project by a group of local Israeli activists and artists plans to present a “positive movement,” instead of the “negative trend, which divides and frightens us.”
Tehran and Jerusalem once enjoyed warm diplomatic ties but after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the situation took a turn for the worse and the two countries have been at loggerheads ever since.
The project organized by Hamabul Art Collective aims to highlight the relationship that once existed between the two countries.
The embassy will “show different aspects than those the media has been feeding us,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
Matan Pinkas, one of the organizers of the project, said the project aims to “leave the conflict at the level of the leaders and not between the peoples.”
“Before the revolution, Israel made a mistake when it supported the Shah of Iran, who hurt his people. We’re saying, ‘We made a mistake, we hurt you.’ That is something you can do in the presence of the Iranian ambassador to Israel. In every Knesset election, the security issue concerning Iran comes up again and again. We wanted to challenge the very essence of an embassy – by establishing an embassy that will represent a culture, not a government,” he said, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.
In a somewhat brave move in a country whose government sees Tehran as a bitter enemy, the organizers of the project plan to wave Iranian flags in various Israeli city centers.
Organizer Pinkas understands that this may be a difficult. “I waved the Iranian flags a bit in Tel Aviv, to create a teaser,” he said, according to Haaretz. “People said to me, ‘It’s better to burn that flag.’ Because of the angry looks I was getting, I put the flags back in the bag so they wouldn’t take them away from me. I hope they won’t respond aggressively to the embassy.”
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