Man, some people really know how to carry a grudge! It’s been quite a few years — millennia, in fact — since the Book of Exodus was written, detailing the ten deadly plagues that God visited on the Egyptian people because their supreme leader, the pharaoh, wouldn’t capitulate to Moses’ demands that the Jews be released from bondage.
The website of station KRON in Cairo reports that a “leading Egyptian journalist” is demanding reparations for the locusts, lice, boils, and other severe punishments the Almighty inflicted on his people. Writing in the Egyptian-language newspaper Al-Yawm Al-Sabi, Ahmad al-Gamal spells out his grievances (translated by the Times of Israel):
We want compensation for the plagues that were inflicted upon [us] as a result of the curses that the Jews’ ancient forefathers [cast] upon our ancient forefathers, who did not deserve to pay for the mistake that Egypt’s ruler at the time, Pharaoh, committed.
For what is written in the Torah proves that it was Pharaoh who oppressed the children of Israel, rather than the Egyptian people. [But] they inflicted upon us the plague of locusts that didn’t leave anything behind them; the plague that transformed the Nile’s waters into blood, so nobody could drink of them for a long time; the plague of darkness that kept the world dark day and night; the plague of frogs; and the plague of the killing of the firstborn, namely every first offspring born to woman or beast, and so on.
Al-Gamal has a fair point. Some of those plagues, still enumerated by Jews during the seder held every Passover, were pretty nasty. I mean, smiting of the firstborn? That’s some heady stuff.
Al-Gamal says Egypt should also be reimbursed for the gold, silver, copper, precious stones, fabrics, hides, lumber, and other tangible goods used in the Israelites’ rituals as described in the Bible. These items, he alleges, “were obviously stolen before the Jewish tribes left Israel.”
KORN observes that it’s unclear what court would have jurisdiction in a case like that or whether a statute of limitations would apply.
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