Raisi’s death: Israelis rejoice, regime supporters mourn

Russia, Turkey and Palestinians among those lamenting the Iranian president’s sudden death.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The sudden death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash Sunday night was celebrated by Israelis and mourned by supporters of the Iranian regime.

Ordinary Israelis rejoiced at the news, considering the steady hatred Raisi had directed at the Jewish state both before and after he ascended to the highest political office in the Islamic Republic, with his repeated calls for the country’s destruction.

They filled social media with cheers and jokes such as “The pilot was a Mossad agent named Eli Copter,” or alternatively, “Avi Ron,” which as one word in Hebrew means “airplane.”

Israeli officials were quick to deny any responsibility for the death of the man dubbed the Butcher of Tehran for executing thousands of anti-regime protestors as one of the leaders of Iran’s judiciary in the 1980s.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has yet to publish an official statement reacting to Raisi’s untimely demise, other Israeli politicians have chimed in.

Israel Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman told Ynet that “There’s no doubt that … the president was a cruel man and we certainly won’t shed a tear” at his death.

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Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu tweeted “Cheers” alongside a picture of a glass of wine, reacting to detractors by saying that “When evil people perish, rejoicing is almost a duty.”

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Avi Maoz noted that “Less than a month ago, [Raisi] threatened that ‘If Israel attacks, nothing will be left of it,’ and now he is a speck of dust in history. This is how all of God’s enemies will perish.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Russia, Turkey and the Palestinians were among those in the Arab world and beyond who mourned the Iranian leader’s death.

“Seyed Ebrahim Raisi was an outstanding politician whose entire life was devoted to serving the Motherland,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“As a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good neighborly relations between our countries and made great efforts to bring them to the level of strategic partnership.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan posted to X that “As a colleague who personally witnessed his efforts for the peace of the Iranian people and our region during his time in power, I remember Mr. Raisi with respect and gratitude.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also expressed his condolences to the Iranian government and the Iranian people, saying that the “solidarity of Palestine and its people” is “with the Iranian leadership and people in this great distress.”

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As one of the major recipients of Iranian support, Hamas released its own, separate statement to voice their sorrow over the death of Raisi as well as the others, including Iran’s foreign minister, who were with him at the time.

“These leaders supported the legitimate struggle of our people against the Zionist entity, provided valued support to the Palestinian resistance, and made tireless efforts in solidarity and support in all forums and fields for our people in the steadfast Gaza Strip during the Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood,” the terrorist organization wrote, using its name for its October 7 invasion of Israel that sparked the ongoing war.

Those killed were “a group of the best Iranian leaders who had a long journey in Iran’s renaissance,” it added.

IsraelTech.com founder Yoel Israel spoke for many of his fellow citizens’ reactions to the latter statements, posting to X, “The only people who are saddened with Raisi the Butcher’s death are those whose #1 priority is the genocide of Jewish people. Everyone else thinks the world is now a better place without him.”