By RON JAGER—
So is there anything really new about the drama being played out on Congressional Hill? Not really, as usual the Jews are the canaries in the proverbial coal mine.
The festival of Purim, which recalls the events of the Book of Esther, features characters whose identity, natures, or intent are “hidden.” In fact, although the miraculous survival of the Persian Jews in the Book of Esther is due to God’s intervention, God’s name never appears in the Book of Esther. In the Book of Esther, the decree of the wicked Haman was annulled and the Jewish people living in the ancient Persian Empire were saved from the edict of death and genocide instigated against them by Haman. Thursday is Purim, the day Jews worldwide celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people from the cruel hand of a Persian tyrant more than two thousand years ago.
Parallels to today are striking. Like then, Israel, where the majority of the world’s Jews live, faces a dire threat from Persia. Like then, when Haman, descendant of Amalek sought to kill every Jewish man, woman and child; today, exactly similar in tone and in content, the current political leadership of Iran promised only last week to wipe out Tel-Aviv and Haifa. As then, when the two heroes of Purim, Mordechai and Esther stood up and sounded the alarm at great danger to their own well-being, today the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, will speak before a joint session of Congress and seek to sound the alarm and hopefully empower the decision makers to be awoken from their indifference and stop the existential threat on Israel and the Jewish nation by Iran.
The late Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik considered one of the leading rabbinical figures of Orthodox Judaism in the modern era offered a unique view on what the real miracle was during Purim. “A madman rose and articulated his intentions to destroy the Jewish people. The miracle was that we didn’t ignore him, we didn’t excuse him, and we didn’t seek to reinterpret him. The miracle was that we actually believed him and sought to do something about it,” The Purim story teaches us to recognize that we have been in this situation before. As we say during the Passover Seder, in every generation a leader rises to destroy us, but the Jewish people will prevail. So it was in days of old, so it will be today.
President Obama, despite being given a copy of Meggilat Esther (The story of Esther) by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and despite his poor track record with almost if not all of his strategic foreign policy decisions being proven mistaken during his back to back tenure at the White House, it seems as if President Obama lives in a never-ending Purimspiel in which protocol supersedes truth, demanding of Israel to live with and take the brunt of American policy blunders. Obama along with his cohorts in the State Department and in the Democratic Party have stressed in recent weeks the need to give diplomacy a chance knowing full well that all of America’s allies beside Israel in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the Emirates and others are adamantly against the current negotiations with Iran for the exact same reasons that Israel opposes them but only Israel is forced to take a public stand against Obama, and only Israel is accused of meddling in America’s negotiation strategy with Iran. Obama has no hesitance to ridicule Israel publicly so as to keep America’s Arab allies in the Middle East silent and obedient. This is the underlying message of Obama’s subtle threats to Israel in the past few weeks, and gives us all an inkling of Obama’s true intentions, initiating a nuclear arms race in the Middle East by enabling Iran to maintain a nuclear threshold capacity.
Getting back to; “as usual the Jews are the canaries in the proverbial coal mine”; what really ticks off Obama concerning Netanyahu’s speech to both houses of Congress has to do with his inability to play ball. From reading about Obama’s childhood, he evidently never experienced marble season, or played stick ball with a Pensey’s Pinky, or even street basket ball. Obama can’t comprehend that in life you improvise, you make do with what you have, even if it means that a broom stick becomes a kind of baseball bat. Obama’ s upbringing taught him to be silent and observant to those in charge, engraved in Obama’s upbringing is a kind of hidden defense mechanism that prevents him from functioning in a tit-for-tat environment, he does not improvise, Obama is unable to be truly flexible, he simply concedes. In an Iranian shuk, Obama would pay full price for an article that could be purchased at a quarter of the price, all you have to do is haggle, something that Obama is unable to do.
Netanyahu has no qualms at haggling and shouting, much like is done at all Middle Eastern shuks, he also has no inhibition in rejecting Obama’s denunciation of Israel’s leader’s instinct to stand up and defend herself. Israel will not be silent nor forced to accept unilateral concessions that will affect the sustainability of the State of Israel. Obama would be wise to truly comprehend the message posted by his own Matt Nosanchuk, an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement, on the White House Blog calling on people to not only focus on the masquerading aspects of the holiday but also reflect on the holiday’s “more serious underlying themes of persecution and survival in the face of the planned genocide of ancient Persia’s Jews.”, rather than treat it as if its nothing more than just Purimspiel.
The writer, a 25-year veteran of the I.D.F., served as a field mental health officer and Commander of the Central Psychiatric Military Clinic for Reserve Soldiers at Tel-Hashomer. Since retiring from active duty, he provides consultancy services to NGO’s implementing Psycho trauma and Psychoeducation programs to communities in the North and South of Israel. Today, Ron is a strategic advisor at the Office of the Chief Foreign Envoy of Judea and Samaria.