Our contributor Amil Imani has an article today on the Arutz Sheva website, "Iranians are friends of the Jews." Of Iranian origin and American citizenship, Amil is proud of the pre-Islamic history of tolerance and friendship of his native land.
Iranians are proud of their historical friendship with the Jewish people. The bond of friendship goes back to the landmark action of King Cyrus the Great of Persia. In 537 BCE, having conquered Babylon, the benevolent King Cyrus freed the Jews from captivity and empowered them to return to the Promised Land and build their Temple.
For his acts of kindness, Cyrus the Great is immortalized in the Bible in several passages and called "the anointed of the Lord." The Jews throughout the recorded history looked to Cyrus' people, the Iranians, as their friends and protectors against oppressors such as the Seleucids and the Romans. There existed, in the ancient world, a universal admiration for the beliefs and practices of the Persians as enshrined in the Cyrus Charter of Human Rights. Even the Greeks, the traditional adversaries of the Persians, called Cyrus "The Lawgiver."
The return of the Jews to the Promised Land did not mark the end of their ordeal. Successive waves of ill-wishers, notably the Romans and then the savage Muslims, unleashed their unjustified wrath on the Jews.