Speculation is intensifying that Israel may conduct a military strike on Iran in order to destroy the Islamic Republic's nascent nuclear weapons program. Some reports suggest that such an attack may occur as soon as this spring.

Already, rumors have been floated that Israel's spy agency, the Mossad, has conspired to kill a number of Iranian nuclear scientists (by recruiting Iranian dissidents and mercenaries as assassins).

If the Jewish State does indeed make a move against Iran, there exists a Biblical precedent for such a momentous event.

On March 8 of this year, Jews around the world will observe the Purim festival, which celebrates the deliverance of the Jews of ancient Persia (present-day Iran) from destruction.

As detailed in the Book of Esther of the Old Testament, Haman, the royal vizier of the Persian emperor Ahasuerus, plotted to kill all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the vast Persian Empire.

Separately, after his wife Vashti refuses one of his orders, Ahasuerus has her executed and chooses a new queen -- he selects a young orphan named Esther, the ward of an exile from the land of Israel named Mordechai.(Esther did not reveal to the emperor that she was Jewish).

Meanwhile, Mordechai discovers and foils a plot to assassinate Ahasuerus by two royal courtiers who are subsequently hanged.

Mordechai eventually earns the emperor's gratitude.

Complicating matters, of course, is Haman's plan to murder of the Jews, including Mordechai, whom he hates.

When Esther informs her husband that she is Jewish, Ahasuerus orders Haman's execution -- however, it is too late to rescind the royal decree calling for the extermination of the Jews of the empire.

The king allows Mordechai and Esther to defend themselves and the Jews from attacks.
This leads to the deaths of some 75,000 Persians (including Haman's ten sons) who planned to murder Jews.

After the brutal fighting is over, Mordechai becomes the emperor's second-in-command and commences the first Purim to commemorate the salvation of the Jews from annihilation.

Interestingly, throughout history, organized attacks and pogroms against Jews coincided with Jewish holidays and festivals. For example, on Purim in 1942 Nazi soldiers killed ten Jews in Zdu?ska Wola in Poland, apparently to exact vengeance for the long-ago murder of Haman's ten sons by the Jews.

Adolph Hitler himself frequently cited the massacre of Persians as an example of Jewish violence and aggression and warned that a defeat of Nazis would prompt a Purim-like killing of Germans. (Indeed, by the Nazis reckoning, the Persians were fellow Aryans.)

Similarly, when the Syrians and Egyptians launched a war against Israel in October 1973, it coincided with Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism (hence, the “Yom Kippur war”).

Now in 2012, an attack on Iran during Purim would be highly symbolic. Perhaps Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fancies himself as a modern-day Mordechai and views Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a contemporary Haman.

Indeed, like the ill-fated Haman, Ahmadinejad has also called for the annihilation of the Jews and Israel.