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Iran and Israel: A Scientific Collaboration

For the first time in the recent history of Israel, I believe I am the first non-Jewish Iranian of a Persian heritage to be the keynote speaker at the Israel Dental Association Congress. The event will be held in Tel Aviv on November 15 and 16, 2012. The meeting is by far the largest dental event held in Israel.

This invitation has generated a positive interest in Israel and Iran. At organizers request, I have agreed to be interviewed on topics other than my scientific presentations at this meeting. Over 3,000 participants are expected to attend.

About 1,400 years ago, from the city of Tisfoon, which was at that time the capital of the Persian Empire, an exceptional Persian rug of about 4000 m2 was taken away by their enemies. Not realizing nor appreciating the beauty and value of this rug -- which was named Baharestan (Land of Spring) -- the invaders cut it into parts so it can be distributed among their high placed leaders.

To me, this unique rug is symbolic of the relations between Iran and Israel. Even though the two countries have never shared a common geographic frontier, they were an example of what a strong diplomacy should be. The divided pieces of this rug must be woven back together. I am determined that this trip can reestablish the unification of these two great nations, regardless of politics and radicalism.

Approximately 2,600 years ago, Darius I, who ruled over the Persian Empire at its peak, said that wherever Jews are in Persia, they are encouraged to live under the Torah and are able to speak Hebrew. During the Sassanid Empire (from AD 224 to AD 651) Rabbi Yossi, touched by the action of Darius I, promoted the speaking of the Persian language and contributed to the richness of the Persian language by Jews for generations to come.

Through this event which is organized in Israel, scientists and researchers of the two countries have shown their willingness and commitment to centuries old interactive learning and collaboration.

To express my gratitude for this opportunity, I sent this letter to the host committee and participants.

Thank you, Israel Dental Association (IDA) for inviting a Persian, an Iranian, to your country as your keynote speaker.

My dear friends,

Thank you for inviting me to Israel.

Scientists and researchers from Iran and Israel have the responsibility to collaborate with one another and learn from each other. The 4,000-year-old collaboration between the two exceptionally rich cultures will once more produce a positive and prolific outcome. If Persian and Israeli scientists do not come together, who else has the experience, wisdom and willingness to do so?

The Judeo-Persian history is deep, beautiful, and mutually beneficial. An invitation of Jews to Iran by Cyrus The Great; Esther, a Jewish Queen of the Persians and their King Xerxes 2,500 years ago; Shushan-Dokht, a Jewish Queen of the Persians and their King Yazdgerd, 1,500 years ago, vividly reminds us of such a bounteous relationship.

For centuries, Persians have benefited from the knowledge provided by Jews who enjoyed places of privilege in the courts of Achæmenid Empire, Parthian Empire, and the Sasanian Empire. Jews were guardians of the Persian culture, government, military, art and science, and continue to be so.

Persians were guardians of the culture of the Jewish nation and continue to be so. The most significant and important Jewish doctrine of theology and law, the Babylonian Talmud, was written in Iran.

My friends, history has spoken: centuries-old interactions must not be broken. We must rebuild a conducive environment for dialogue and mutual interests.

I am looking forward to being with you during November 15th -16th, 2012 in Tel Aviv.

Hessam Nowzari, DDS, PhD

Organizers will provide me with a video of my presentations and dialogues in Israel that I will be sharing with millions of my compatriots through a television program. There are 45 million young Iranians living in Iran who are open to reestablishing the relationship. I am hoping that this event can lead to other similar events in order to renew an interrupted 4,000 year old friendship.

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