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Israeli premier's gift to Obama provides a briefing book — of sorts — on Iran

Published March 6, 2012 11:40 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The gift from Benjamin Netanyahu to President Barack Obama this week may have been more than a nice gesture. It seemed to send a clear political message.The Israeli prime minister gave the U.S. president a copy of the Book of Esther, which tells the story of how a Jewish woman intervened in ancient Persia (now Iran), to preserve Jews in the realm from annihilation.Jews throughout the world celebrate Esther's actions in the holiday, Purim, which starts Wednesday."Netanyahu sees the nuclear threat posed by modern-day Iran as no less existential to Israel," writes Nathan Guttman in the Jewish Daily Forward. "Aides to Netanyahu said the Israeli leader provided Obama with a copy of the Book of Esther as a form of 'background reading' on Iran."As a committed Christian, Obama is likely familiar with the Jewish story. It is in the Bible.Peggy Fletcher Stack