In a pointed message to President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Obama a copy of the book of Esther, which recounts how Esther heroically prevented the massacre of Jews.
"The prime minister of Israel is many things, but subtle is not one of them," columnist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote Wednesday for Bloomberg. "The message of Purim is: When the Jews see a murderous conspiracy forming against them, they will act to disrupt the plot. A further refinement of the message is: When the Jews see a plot forming against them in Persia, they will act to disrupt the plot, even if Barack Obama wishes that they would wait for permission."
Jews will be celebrating Purim on Wednesday and Thursday this week to remember Esther's deeds. Esther, a Jew, was selected to be the Queen of Persia, but kept her religion secret. In her position, she wittingly prevented a plot to kill all the Jews in Persia.
Goldberg called Purim "the apotheosis of the 'They Tried to Kill Us, They Failed, Let's Eat' category of Jewish holidays."
Netanyahu and Obama had a two-hour private meeting in the White House on Monday to discuss what to do about Iran's possible development of a nuclear weapon that could be used to attack Israel. Netanyahu is apparently struggling with whether Israel should preemptively attack Iran to take out its nuclear facilities, or trust that the United States will attack Iran if diplomacy and economic sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
Obama has said that Israel is a sovereign nation and has a right to make its own decisions in these matters, but he also said that, while a military strike is not off the table, there is no imminent threat from Iran and diplomacy and economic sanctions should be given more time to work.