Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought his own special brand of Purim joy to a synagogue on Saturday, telling dozens of celebrating children that today, too, the Persians want to kill the Jews.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, the prime minister is seen talking to a group of children dressed up for the holiday and their parents.
“What is the Purim holiday about, what do we celebrate, does anyone know?” a smiling Netanyahu asked. “Why? What did they want to do to us then?” he carried on.
“To kill us,” one of the children calls out.
“Where? Who wanted to kill us?” Netanyahu said.
“In Persia,” the children responded.
“Did it work?” Netanyahu asked.
“No, it turned out the opposite,” one child said.
“And today in Persia they also want to …. to destroy us,” Netanyahu said, drawing laughter from the adults, referring to modern-day Iran.
“And also today they won’t succeed,” he said to a round of applause.
“That’s all, happy holidays,” he concluded.
Purim, which starts Saturday night, commemorates the Biblical tale of an averted genocide of the Jews in the Persian empire some 2,500 years ago, and is a festive occasion celebrated with costumes, parades and street parties in cities around Israel.
It’s not the first time Netanyahu has tried to compare the ancient Persians with Iran in recent days. He made the same comparison to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who told him to stop dwelling in the past.
“Today there is an attempt by Persia’s heir, Iran, to destroy the state of the Jews,” Netanyahu said ahead of their meeting in Moscow on Thursday. “They say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles.”
Adopting a conciliatory tone, Putin said that the events described by Netanyahu had taken place “in the fifth century BC”
“We now live in a different world. Let us talk about that now,” Putin said.