Purim: What Some Jews (and Others) Are Thinking About Iran

Claimed Tomb of Esther and Mordecai in Hamadan, Iran


Now, many Jews around the world are celebrating the national holiday called Purim from chapter 9 of the Book of Esther.  With Iran and Israel in the news a lot, some have wondered if history was warning Israel that it may have to again attack some within the bounds of ancient Persia (represented by an ancient leader Haman), modern Iran:

For some, Purim holds Iran-Israel lessons

Al-Arabiya – 7 March 2012

Jews mark the holiday of Purim by reading the Book of Esther from sundown and by dressing up as characters from the story…

This year the holiday has additional meaning for some, providing historical parallels as Israel’s leaders weigh their response to Iran’s nuclear program…senior ultra-Orthodox rabbi Ovadia Yosef warning last month: “There is now also a Haman in Persia.”

Some in Israel do not believe that recent promises from US President Obama can be trusted despite his reassurances (this week  Obama {said} to Israel: `We got your back’).  Notice how one Jewish Rabbi used the story of Esther as evidence that they should be cautious this week:

Twenty-five hundred years ago Queen Esther goes before Persia’s King Achashverosh to plead for her fellow Jews; and today Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House to ask President Obama to help stop Iran (Biblical Persia) from building a nuclear weapon to annihilate all the Jews of Israel.

Let us start with Achashverosh. When Esther tells him that Haman wants to annihilate every Jew in the Persian Empire, Achashverosh reacts with anger: “Who plotted to do such a thing!” he cries indignantly.

Who, indeed?

Every year at Purim even Jewish children ask, “Wasn’t this the same Achashverosh who gave Haman his signet ring to perpetrate a Persian Jewish Holocaust?  What’s he doing looking so shocked now?!”

Ah, my dear young people, welcome to the world of political expediency. When it served the king’s interest to murder the Jews he ordered their extermination. When it served his interest to gain their popularity he said the ancient equivalent of “Don’t worry Esther, we’ve got your back.”

The Jewish People have never expressed any trust in King Achashverosh.

What about trusting today’s most powerful man in the world? http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/flashpoint/2012/03/weve-got-your-back-esther

So, there are concerns by some in Israel that it always needs to be ready, on its own, basically because many believe history teaches that foreign politicians cannot really be trusted.  And this seems consistent with what the Israeli Prime Minister said and did this week:

March 7, 2012 3:24 PM EST

During his recent visit with Barack Obama in Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly gave the U.S. president a gift that carried heavy symbolic meaning with respect to Israel’s spiraling crisis with Iran.  Obama received from Netanyahu a copy of the Biblical Book of Esther, which tells the ancient story of how the Jews of Persia, which is modern-day Iran, fought back and thwarted a plot to annihilate them…Now in 2012, an attack on Iran during Purim would be highly symbolic. Perhaps Netanyahu fancies himself as a modern-day “Mordechai” and views Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a contemporary “Haman.” Indeed, like the ill-fated Haman, Ahmadinejad has also called for the annihilation of the Jews and Israel.

Goldberg: Netanyahu Gives Obama a Message to Heed‎ BusinessWeek

The prime minister of Israel is many things, but subtle is not one of them. The message of Purim is: When the Jews see a murderous conspiracy forming against them, they will act to disrupt the plot…This time, he made it somewhat differently: “My friends, this is not 1944,” he told Aipac. “Today we have a state of our own. The purpose of the Jewish state is to secure the Jewish future. That is why Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, against any threat.”

And then he added, as if he wasn’t making himself clear, “We must always remain the masters of our own fate.”

Others, including non-Jews, are wondering about the credibility of Iran based upon what seems to have been going on over there related to its nuclear site.  Notice some such reports:

CNN – ‎7 March 2012 By the CNN Wire Staff Vienna, Austria (CNN) — Iran is not open about its nuclear program, but it should be, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said Wednesday.
Vienna:March 8, 2012
Satellite images of an Iranian military facility appear to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the site, indicating an attempted cleanup of radioactive traces possibly left by tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger, diplomats told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The assertions from the diplomats, all nuclear experts accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency, could add to the growing international pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes.
Wall Street Journal – ‎7 March 2012 By JAY SOLOMON WASHINGTON—Satellite imagery taken of Iran is raising concerns inside the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog that Tehran has been “cleansing” a military site that the agency believes may have been involved in nuclear-weapons development, according to Western officials briefed on the intelligence.
The situation in Iran is precarious.  Since Bible prophecy does not show that Iran will be a major power in the end, something must happen to change the current status.  Something will, and it may involve armed conflict. Jews are aware that their Purim festival pictures the defeat of an enemy that was based in Iran thousands of years ago.  It is something that some of them have connected to the current situation.
Yet, while God will not let Israel be completely destroyed, unlike the events in the Book of Esther, He may well let Israel suffer mightily if there is a soon coming (within a year or so) regional war.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include the following:

Purim: Israel vs. Iran The Book of Esther tells of a holiday called Purim that the Jews use as a celebration over parts of an ancient Persian empire. Some believe that it has modern parallels.
Iran: Site of Esther’s Tomb?   There are various opinions on where Esther and her uncle Mordecai were buried.  This has some information about that.
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2012 or 2013? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What is the “beginning of sorrows”? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Eight reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and eight reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist? Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests? This is the longest and most complete article on this page on Barack Obama prophecies. Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States
Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”, based up an early 20th century writing.
Canada in Prophecy:
What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future.
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? If so, what does that really mean for the USA and its Anglo allies.
Is Tony Blair Apocalyptic? The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom converted to Catholicism shortly after leaving his office and has been active in European affairs. What role might he play?
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi? What does the Bible say?
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims?

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