In the spirit of Purim-- the festive holiday that celebrates the Jews' escape from annhilation in Persia with costumes, masks, noisemakers, and booze-- a West Jerusalem friend shared this composite photo. It is a startling image of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad which is making the rounds and really has the power to straighten the old curly whirlies. Iran's president is a postmodern Haman, the personification of evil, to many Israelis who view him with the same suspicion once reserved for Yassir Arafat. The mention of his name could one day set off a chorus of wooden graggers
But this newswire photo (left) has almost equal shock value, with the added frisson of being real. It was snapped a couple months back at the Tehran Holocaust denial conference. Moshe Aryeh Friedman, a senior member of Neturei Karta, an ultra-orthodox fringe group, soon regretted that public kiss. His Austrian wife was so repulsed by lips that had touched Mahmoud's flesh, she promptly left the guy. Friedman is regarded with contempt and pity, a wingnut who lacks the intellectual rigor of a typical 'self-hating Jew' outside the homeland. Go figure.