Iran and Israel, It’s Purim All Over Again
by Yedidya Atlas
Some 2,000 years ago, the Jewish people, Exiled in the vast empire of Persia faced a plot engineered by the king’s chief minister to annihilate them. Since then, the salvation of the Jews at that time is commemorated by Jewish communities everywhere as the Jewish holiday of Purim. The story of what transpired, as is recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther – “Megillat Esther”, or “Scroll of Esther” – relates how Jewish national deliverance took place.
As the story is told, Haman, the evil minister, a surviving descendant of Amalek, convinced and bribed King Ahasuerus to issue an irrevocable decree that all the Jews were to be killed on one day throughout the Empire, and their property would be up for grabs. Without going through the entire story, Mordechai, a member of the Sanhedrin (“Great Assembly of Sages”) in Jerusalem and the leader of the exiled Jews in Shushan, the capital of the Persian Empire, and his niece Esther who was chosen by Ahasuerus to be Queen of Persia (without knowing her Jewish identity at first), proved to the King that Haman was out for himself and was disloyal. The King then issued another decree allowing the Jews to arm and defend themselves (a unique concept in and of itself, since even today, verbosity aside, very few Western leaders really subscribe to the concept of Jewish/Israeli self-defense). The end result: over 75,000 of the attackers of the Jews were killed and the Jews were victorious. And then to prove their being different, as usual, no spoils of war were taken.
Today the Jewish People in their historical homeland, the Jewish State of Israel, are once again being openly threatened by an evil Persian Empire of Terror known today as Iran. Today’s Hamans – Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hizbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, to name just a few, are no less committed to the destruction of the Jewish People as were Haman and his ten sons of old. They openly and clearly call for Israel’s destruction and make no secret of the nuclear weapons, the type that can wipe out the Jews in one day.
At the time of the original Purim story, the evil Haman could not have achieved his goal of wiping out all the Jews without the active support of hundreds of thousands of armed anti-Semites throughout the Empire who would carry out the slaughter on the chosen date. Among the cohorts to today’s Iranian Hamans are the scientists working feverishly to enrich sufficient uranium to make a nuclear bomb. One such scientist was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast assassinated in early January. Should anyone doubt Mostafa’s personal commitment to the cause of mass murder of Jews, his wife proudly clarified that telling point.
Earlier this month Iran’s FARS News Agency (FNA) reported that Fatemeh Bolouri Kashani, wife of the aforementioned assassinated Iranian scientist who was a senior official at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, told the FNA: “Mostafa’s ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel.”
The late Mostafa, like many thousands of other cohorts of the aforementioned modern day Hamans, toil around the clock to develop the weapons and methods aimed at the destruction of the Jewish People.
Just a week or so ago, top UN nuclear official, Herman Nackaerts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told AP that “his team could ‘could not find a way forward’ in attempts to persuade Iran to talk about suspected secret work on atomic arms.”
In fact, after the IAEA officially declared that the talks with Iran have “collapsed”, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iran State Television that “Tehran’s nuclear course would not change regardless of international sanctions, assassinations or other pressures.”
Iran has alternately denied it is experimenting with nuclear arms programs, while issuing statements on their plans to annihilate the State of Israel with nuclear weapons. All the while they have refused to cooperate with the IAEA for nearly four years. But talks will continue even if nothing of substance will be said, and in the meanwhile, the centrifuges will continue to spin and certain western politicians will continue to spin excuses about what not to do until it is too late.
For in the final analysis, beyond the actions of those who make the weapons of death and those who plan to use them, no less important to the original Haman and his venal associates, was the tacit support, or at the very least, the inaction in opposing the scheduled mass murder of an entire nation by the “better people” in Ahasuerus’ court. Today’s Hamans need these “better people” too. You know, the educated, well-to-do, the liberal refined folk in the West who oppose all violence in principle, except, of course, when it comes to the Jews apparently.
In the original Purim story King Ahasuerus could have just as easily issued a decree ordering the royal troops in each of the 127 kingdoms that comprised the Persian Empire to defend the Jews. But he didn’t. He was playing both sides of the street. If the Jews survived, fine, and if not, he would collect his share of the spoils.
The primary lesson of Purim for today’s Jewish leaders is that just as in the original Purim story the Jews had to ultimately defend themselves so too today the Jews cannot pin their national survival on vague promises of support as the Iranian nuclear clock continues to tick.
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu heads off to Washington to meet with US President Barack Obama on the week of the Purim holiday, he will no doubt have in mind the lesson of Purim: the only ones who can be relied on to defend the Jews are the Jews themselves.
The author is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record.
This article first appeared in The Times of Israel.