The Iranian Who Took to Zionism

The partition plan released in August 1947 came as a pleasant surprise to most of the Jewish leadership in the Land of Israel. Although the majority of the population was Arab, 64 percent of the territory was earmarked for the Jewish State.

"It was the most generous resolution the Jews could have hoped for," says Dr. Elad Ben-Dror, of Bar-Ilan University. His previous study was about the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), which was appointed in May 1947 and drafted the partition proposal.

UNSCOP created this plan mainly because it was considered the only applicable one. "They concluded that the most practical solution at the time was establishing a Jewish state within an expansive territory. The Jewish Agency made it clear to them that it would support the partition plan if the Jews received most of the land," says Ben-Dror.

The Indian and Iranian UNSCOP representatives were pro-Arab to begin with, but the latter gradually changed his mind.

"The Iranian had explicit orders to oppose a Jewish state. But over time he developed sympathy for the Zionist project," says Ben-Dror.