Iran's President Hassan Rouhani Sends Rosh Hashanah Message
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani sent Jewish people an unexpected message via Twitter on Wednesday.
At sunset on Wednesday night, the Iranian president tweeted this simple, but powerful message:
The well-wishes sent by the Iranian president may have been particularly shocking to Israel, which considers Iran to be one of their major national security threats. Israel accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons with the goal of destroying Israel.
According to the 2012 census, there are fewer than 9,000 Jews in Iran's population of 75 million. But that still makes the population of Iranian Jews one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East outside of Israel.
The message from the highest ranks of Iranian power marks an attempt by the new Iranian leadership to mend relationships with Jewish people. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was known for his opinion that Israel should be eliminated, and even suggested that the Holocaust is a myth.
While Rouhani's message might have been the most unexpected, he wasn't the only leader to take to take time out to wish Jews around the world a Happy Rosh Hashanah. Prime Minister David Cameron, sent "best wishes to Jewish communities in the UK and around the world observing the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur". And President Barack Obama wished the Jewish community "shana tova" during a trip to the Great Synagogue in Sweden.
Rosh Hashanah marks the Jewish New Year and starts a month of holidays that include Yom Kippur and Sukkot. The Jewish calendar is entering year 5774.