Despite the increasing tension between Iran and Israel, many may be surprised to find out there is a rather large Jewish community in the Iranian town of Esfahan.

There is a synagogue located on Palestine Square, right in the heart of Iran’s third largest city. There are public prayers several times a day with over a hundred people at times.

The Iranian Jewish community does not live in fear, but instead take pride in their heritage. The leader of the prayer services, Michael Malakon, said he takes pride in his Jewish identity and confirms that he hasn’t experienced any hostility from residents.

“I hang around with all kinds of young people and I have a lot of Muslim friends,” Malakon tells CNN after finishing the noon prayer on a Monday. About 20 people were in attendance, usually from local businesses around the synagogue. Inside the synagogue one can find the Star of David is proudly displayed in many places, alongside passages from the Torah, according to CNN.

There has been a Jewish presence in Iran for over 2,500 years. When the Islamic Revolution occurred in 1979 many fled the country, but the leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said he wanted to obliterate Israel, however Iranian Jews were off limits. They were considered different than Israeli Jews.

“Israel and Iran are countries,” Sion Mahgrefte, the head of the Jewish community in Esfahan, said. “And we consider ourselves Iranian Jews, not Israeli Jews. So the hostilities between Israel and Iran do not affect us.”

There is even a Jewish representative in Iran’s parliament. There are 13 synagogues in the city and several Orthodox Cathedrals, highlighting a Christian community as well.

Most of the Jews are business people. In the center of town there is a shopping mall, known to people here as the “Jewish Passage” because so many businesses are Jewish-owned.

When it comes to discussing the tension between Israeli Prime Minister and the U.S. and their own country, everyone opted out of commenting. The only statement they made was they wish for peace.

“We just want peace,” he said. “We really hope that all these problems can be solved one day, God willing. We are just hoping for unity and peace.”

While Sion Mahgrefte is adamant that they have no problems with their Shia neighbors, he does acknowledge that friends living abroad often worry about them, as reported by CNN.

“Of course sometimes people we know who live in Israel or elsewhere are very concerned about us, and they tell us we are crazy to live here,” he says. “But then we tell them how things are and they calm down.”