A campaign against Quds Day in Iran has generated thousands of tweets with the hashtag #WeStandWithIsrael, according to an official of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
As thousands of people marched through Iran on Friday to mark the regime's al-Quds Day - an annual day of protest against Israel - some Iranians launched a Twitter campaign to express their support for the Jewish state.
This initiative, under the hashtag #WeStandWithIsrael, was a call for peace between the two peoples. A shared photo on the social media platform encouraged users to tweet the hashtag at 9 pm Tehran time on Friday.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said on Tuesday that the hashtag had been picked up in tens of thousands of tweets.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is implementing public digital diplomacy on various social networks, in several languages, including Persian," said Sharona Avginsaz, the ministry's Persian Digital Media Officer.
"Over the last six months, our Twitter page 'Israel in Persian', aimed specifically at Iranian civilians, has grown," she said on the Mako website, administered by Hadashot TV. "We have about 60,000 followers, and our messages reach more than 1.5 million people just with this nickname Twitter. "
She explained that although Twitter is banned in Iran, many Iranians have found ways to circumvent the restrictions.
"This year, Iranian Twitter users have informed us that they intend to provoke a polemic [on Al-Quds Day] with a viral hashtag that would support Israel and show that the Iranian people do not support the regime and its hatred towards [the Jewish state], "said Ms. Avginsaz.
"During this week, our Twitter page has been viewed by 2.5 million Iranians. There were tens of thousands of tweets with the #WeStandWithIsrael hashtag, each stating their individual positions on why they love Israel.
Our history is bound together. Our values have the same root. The Hebrew Bible was compiled in its final form under the patronage of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the Babylonian Talmud under the patronage of the Persian Sassanid Empires.
We are brothers. #WeStandwithIsrael pic.twitter.com/Ud8HwzgXrN
- Borzumehr Toloui (@Borzumehr) June 8, 2018
It is difficult to know how many tweets came directly from Iran and how many came from Iranians and people of Persian origin abroad.
Avginsaz said that "most Iranians oppose the regime and its policy towards Israel, and the Iranians still write to us that they love Israel, that they do not want their regime to use their money to support Hamas. and Hezbollah ".
Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran was a close ally of Israel.
According to Avginsaz, many Iranians "still remember the good relations between Iran and Israel before the revolution." She added that some of them regarded Israel as a potential ally in the region, as both were predominantly Arab non-Arab Middle Eastern states.
The Twitter campaign was not the only friendly operation between the two peoples this week.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video in which he offered Israel's water expertise to an Iran that he said is facing an environmental disaster due to chronic drought.
"The Iranian people are victims of a cruel and tyrannical regime that denies them access to safe drinking water. Israel is standing with the Iranian people, "Netanyahu said in the video, which included links to the Persian website of the State of Israel with information on water scarcity, and towards a Telegram account in Persian.
"Iran's weather services say that about 96 percent of Iran suffers more or less drought," he said. Issa Kalantari, former Iranian Minister of Agriculture, said that 50 million Iranians may be forced to leave their homes because of environmental problems. 50 millions ! "
"Millions of Iranian children are suffering because of mismanagement, incompetence and theft of vital resources by the Iranian regime," he added.
Netanyahu told Iranians that Israel faced similar water problems and found ways to deal with them.
"In Israel, there are also challenges related to lack of water. We have developed cutting-edge technologies to fix it, "he explains in the video.
"Israel has the know-how to prevent an environmental disaster in Iran. I want to share this experience with the people of Iran, "he said.
Given that Israel has no ties to the Islamic Republic, Netanyahu said he would launch "a Farsi website with detailed plans on how Iranians can recycle their wastewater. We will show how Iranian farmers can save their crops and feed their families. "
He emphasized the contrast between the Israeli mentality and that of the Iranians.
"The Iranian regime cries, 'Death to Israel!' ", he said. "In response, Israel cries, 'Life to the Iranian people!' ".
"The Iranian people are kind and dignified. He should not have to deal with such a cruel regime alone, "Netanyahu said in the video. " We are with you. We will ensure that millions of Iranians do not have to suffer. The hatred of the Iranian regime will not prevent the respect and friendship between our two peoples. "