For John, BLUF: In the Middle East a lot of this goes back to Abraham. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Purim ended last evening, at sunset. The Feast moves around a little bit, but it occurs this time of year.
Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from a plot by Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus (presumed to be Xerxes I of Persia).♠ According to the Book of Esther, Haman planned to kill all the Jews in the empire. His plans were foiled by Mordecai and his cousin and adopted daughter Esther, who had risen to become Queen of Persia.
A couple of years go Mr Seth Tillman wrote, at the Gad Fly blog, a meditation on Purim, "Purim & My Bangladeshi Friend". It takes a while, but is rewarding. And, yes, the Jews have worried about Genocide for thousands of years.♥
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Present day Iran.
♥ As they worry about it today, and rightfully so.