Crown Prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi on Monday became the most senior Iranian figure to ever make a public visit to Israel. Pahlavi is the oldest son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, who was overthrown during the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
“I am traveling to Israel to deliver a message of friendship from the Iranian people, engage Israeli water experts on ways to address the regime’s abuse of Iran’s natural resources and pay respects to the victims of the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah,” said Pahlavi ahead of the trip.
“I want the people of Israel to know that the Islamic Republic does not represent the Iranian people. The ancient bond between our people can be rekindled for the benefit of both nations. I’m going to Israel to play my role in building toward that brighter future,” he added.
“Millions of my compatriots still remember living alongside their Jewish-Iranian friends and neighbors, before the Islamic Revolution tore the fabric of our society apart. They reject the regime’s murderous anti-Israel and antisemitic policies and long for cultural, scientific and economic exchanges with Israel. A democratic Iran will seek to renew its ties with Israel and our Arab neighbors. In my opinion, that day is closer than ever,” said Pahlavi.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel will formally host Pahlavi, with the aim of creating a bridge between Israel and the Iranian people, and expressing joint opposition to the ayatollahs’ regime, according to an official Israeli government statement.
“I am honored to host Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi and appreciate his brave decision to visit Israel for the first time. The Crown Prince symbolizes a leadership different from that of the [ayatollahs’] regime, and champions values of peace and tolerance, in contrast to the extremists who rule Iran,” said Gamliel.
“Our nations have enjoyed good relations for thousands of years, since the time of Queen Esther who thwarted the evil Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews in Persia. Today, we are taking the first step in rebuilding the relationship between our nations,” she added.
During his visit, the heir to the Iranian throne will participate in the official opening ceremony to mark Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, which begins on the night of April 17, meet senior officials, visit a desalination plant in order to learn about Israel’s advanced water technologies, speak with members of the Baha’i community and with Jewish Iranians, and visit the Western Wall.