Déjà Vu: Purim Raises Specter of Evil Persian Ruler

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- This week Jews around the world celebrated the Feast of Purim. The holiday commemorates their deliverance 3,000 years ago from the hands of an evil Persian ruler.

That connection and Iran's nuclear threat has some Israelis wondering if history is repeating itself today.

"The story happens in Persia, which is today Iran," one celebrant told CBN News.

The festivities mark the time when Haman the Agagite tried to destroy the Jews, as recorded in the Book of Esther.

"And Haman said unto King Ahasuerus: 'There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people … If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed … And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews." (Esther 3: 8-9, 13)

Fast forward thousands of years to today when many see a familiar storyline.

"Back in the day, it was the Jews in Persia being persecuted and almost wiped out, and now we have the threat from Iran. So it kind of correlates the two," another said.

"It's the same. Ahmadinejad, the Haman, Amalekite, same, same, same, same," a mother and daughter chimed.

For years, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been making statements like the following one in 2005:

"As the imam [Islamic cleric] said, Israel must be wiped off the map … the Islamic umma [community] will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland," he said.

Iran's nuclear program could be the weapon to destroy Israel. And that program just got stronger.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran installed new, faster centrifuges in its main nuclear facility at Natanz, and by next year plutonium could be in production at its nuclear plant in Arak.

In the Bible, Queen Esther intervened and saved the Jews while the king executed Haman. So despite Iran's current nuclear threat, most Jews believe they will survive once again.

"The same…3,000 years ago someone from Iran wanted to kill us. The same situation [exists] now: someone from Iran wants to kill us, and we are going to win. Absolutely! For sure!" one Israeli said.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.