JERUSALEM (AP) — An Iranian blogger who wrote for an Israeli news website and who left her country for exile after threats of imprisonment arrived in Israel on Thursday, saying she feels "safe now" after finally reaching the Jewish state.
Neda Amin spoke shortly after arrival in Israel at a joint press conference with David Horovitz, the founding editor of the Times Of Israel where her work has appeared and who helped bring her to the country.
Amin, 32, had been living in Turkey since 2014. She says she left Iran after being threatened with prison for writing material critical of the government in Tehran.
Turkish authorities recently told her she would be deported back to Iran and that she was in "such danger," Amin added.
Horovitz, after hearing of Amin's plight about two weeks ago — and feeling that his news site had an obligation to her — spoke to the relevant Israeli authorities to help her.
"I thought that there was a choice, which is to do nothing or to see if we can save her," he added.
"I'm very happy. Israel (is) like my country. ... I think it's my country, and I think in my mind that I am safe now," she said. "I was under such danger, and such a difficult life and persecutions, so at the end the state of Israel provided me with this" opportunity.
Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said Amin was currently in Israel on a tourist visa. Amin said at the press conference that she hopes she can stay in Israel.
Amin has written several books about social issues and women's rights in Iran. She also wrote articles critical of the theocratic Iranian government.
Iran is a bitter enemy of Israel and supports militant groups sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state such as the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group and the Palestinian Hamas.
Israel regards Iran as its most dangerous adversary because of its nuclear program, development of long-range missiles and calls for its demise.
Amin said most of her family in Iran has cut ties with her because her work appeared in Israeli media. She said she has Jewish roots on her father's side.