In a surprising gesture and rare display of humanity Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took to Twitter on Monday in order to send a New Year greeting to Jewish people, saying that he hopes they all have a happy Jewish New Year. The Jewish New Year celebration, also known as Rosh Hashanah, began on Sunday and lasts until Tuesday.
President Rouhani wrote to his Twitter followers, “L’Shanah Tovah,” meaning “Happy New Year” in Hebrew.
Rohani added, “May our shared Abrahamic roots deepen respect and bring peace and mutual understanding.”
Iran has a long history of a presence of Judaism, dating back almost 3,000 years and the country is home to thousands of native-born Jews. However, Iran refuses to recognize Israel, and the country is supportive of anti-Israeli military groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Rouhani also tweeted Rosh Hashanah messages in 2013, the year in which he took office. He wrote at the time, “As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that Iran is the largest foreign threat to Israel. The hard line Prime Minister has been highly critical of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that was struck in July.