Just as the Persians did not succeed in killing the Jews in antiquity, neither will the Iranians succeed today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday night before the reading of the megillah in the central synagogue in Caesarea.
Before the traditional reading of the Book of Esther, Netanyahu, surrounded by his security detail and little children in costume, turned to the children and said “What is the holiday about, what to we celebrate, what do we remember, what did they try to do to us then?” “Kill us,” a number of the children replied.
“Where?” Netanyahu asked “In Persia,” they answered.
“Did it succeed,? the Prime minister asked.
“No,” one child said, “the opposite happened.”
“It didn’t happen,” Netanyahu echoed, “the opposite happened. Also today they want to destroy us from Persia; they will not succeed.”
The congregation applauded, and Netanyahu went to sit down next to his son Avner to hear the reading of the megillah.
Netanyahu has often channeled the Purim story when discussing the Iranian threat. For instance, in Thursday in Moscow, at a joint photo opportunity with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Netanyahu used Putin’s greetings for a happy Purim as a peg to blast Tehran.
“I thank you for your good wishes on Purim,” the prime minister said. “Some 2,500 years ago in ancient Persia, there was an attempt to wipe out the Jews, which did not succeed, and which we commemorate with this holiday.”
Today, Netanyahu said, Iran – the heir of the Persians – has similar designs: to wipe out the state of the Jews. “They say this clearly, and it is etched on their ballistic missiles,” he said.
“We’re an ancient people,” he said. “In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies. The plot was foiled. Our people were saved.”
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