Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu returned to Israel on Wednesday afternoon, following his visit to Canada and the United States.
In Canada, Netanyahu met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and in the U.S. he met with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
While in the U.S., Netanyahu also spoke at the 2012 AIPAC Policy Conference and stressed that he would never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
Upon landing Netanyahu said, “I return from a very important visit to the U.S. and Canada. I was received warmly, we have many courageous friends.”
He added, “We are returning for Purim, and this evening we will read in the Book of Esther about those days in which Jews were not masters of their fate and could not defend themselves. Today we are in a different world and a different era; we have a strong state and army. The threats have not disappeared, but we can defend ourselves. We have very many friends that stand at our side and will do so at all times.”
During his meeting with President Obama, Netanyahu gave him a copy of the Book of Esther, and took the opportunity to draw a parallel between the narrative in the book, wherein the wicked Haman seeks to destroy the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire, and Israel's modern day conflict with Iran.
Iranian leaders – including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – have repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state, referring to Israel as a "one bomb state." Iran is geographically Persia and the Iranians are descendants of the ancient Persians.