Netanyahu's Purim Message to Obama


Thursday is Purim, the day Jews worldwide celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people from the cruel hand of a Persian tyrant more than two thousand years ago.

Parallels to today are striking. Like then, Israel, where the plurality of the world's Jews lives, faces a dire threat from Persia. Like then, when Haman, descendant of Amalek sought to kill every Jewish man, woman and child, the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seeks the same.

So it was striking that Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, gave President Obama a Megillat Esther as a gift at their meeting last week.

What was Netanyahu's message? Perhaps that the Jewish people have faced foes like the modern state of Iran before -- and in the end prevailed over their enemies. As well, like then, the Jews did not need outside help. With God's silent guiding hand, Haman's plots were foiled and in fact reversed. What he wished upon the Jewish people was what he received.

The Purim story teaches us to recognize that we have been in this situation before. As we say during the Passover Seder, in every generation a leader rises us to destroy us, but the Jewish people will prevail. So it was in days of old, so it will be today.

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