Passover seems to come earlier each year. The New York Times reports that Israel has been on ‘locust alert’ since Monday, when huge swarms of the beasts were spotted in the Cairo area.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warned that wind and climate conditions increased the chances of an entomological cross-border invasion.
The Ministry of Agriculture set up a hot line for swarm sightings. By Tuesday, grasshoppers the size of small birds were reported on balconies and in gardens in central and northern Israel. But the largest concentration, an ominous black cloud of millions, settled for the night near the tiny rural village of Kmehin in Israel’s southern Negev desert, not far from the border with Egypt.
Potato farmers in the area complained that their fields were being ruined. Drivers said they could not see through their windshields for all the bugs flying in their direction.
With the holiday commemorating the Jews’ liberation from slavery a mere three weeks off, Israelis and Egyptians alike have to be struck by this real-life enactment of the eighth biblical plague. Here’s hoping that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who has shown marked ambivalence toward the Jewish state, is paying attention.
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