ANALYSIS: The Egyptians Have No Ground to Sue Israel over the Ten Plagues

An Egyptian columnist has advocated suing Israel for the Ten Plagues and the jewels that the ancient Hebrews took with them during the Exodus story. His version of the Exodus story contradicts the Quran. In the past, Alexander the Great ruled that the matter should be dropped due to all of the unpaid labor that Egypt owes the descendants of the Hebrew slaves. The ICC would likely drop such a case due to the Statute of Limitations laws.
The Nile turned into blood Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Egyptian columnist Ahmad Al Gamal, who writes for Al Ahram and Al Masri Al Yawm, advocated suing Israel for the damage that the Jewish people caused to Egypt during the Ten Plagues that led to their exodus out of Egypt in biblical times: “We want compensation for the Ten 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 as the Torah calls him, committed.”

“For what is written in the Torah proves that it was Pharaoh who oppressed the Children of Israel, rather than the Egyptian people,” Al Gamal stresses. “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.”

“We want compensation for the gold, silver, copper, precious stones, fabrics, hides and lumber, and for all animal meat, hair, hides and wool, and for other materials that I will mention,” Al Gamal demanded.  “All these are materials that the Jews used in their rituals. These are resources that cannot be found among desert wanderers unless they took them before their departure.”

Ahmad Al Gamal makes these demands of Israel, even though his narrative of the Exodus story completely contradicts Islamic teachings.  Quran 28:4 declares: “Behold, Pharoah exalted himself in the land and divided its people into castes.  He deemed one of those people so utterly low that he decided to slaughter their sons and spare only their women.  But it was Allah’s will to bestow favor upon these very people deemed so utterly low in the land and to make them forerunners in faith, heirs to Pharaoh’s glory, and to establish them securely on earth.”

Quran 7:128 states, “Verily, all of the earth belongs to Allah.  He gives it as a heritage to such as he wills of his servants and the future belongs to the G-d conscious.’”  Quran 7:133 stresses that not just Pharoah but the entire ancient Egyptian society were “people lost in sin.”    In Islam, this period before Islam is called Jahaliya, which means the Era of Ignorance.  Quran 7:136 concludes, “So we inflicted retribution on them and caused them to drown in the sea, because they had been heedless of our messages.  By contrast, the people who in the past had been deemed utterly low we gave as their heritage the eastern and western parts of the land that we had blessed.” 

Aside from the fact that Ahmad Al Gamal’s narrative of the exodus story contradicts Islam, most modern Egyptians are not the descendants of the ancient Egyptians.  According to Egyptologist Moustafa Gadalla, 90% of the Muslim population in Egypt is descended from Arab settlers from the Arabian Peninsula.   The Christian Coptic population is the only segment of modern day Egypt that is purely descended from the ancient Egyptians.   Thus, who are the modern Egyptians to request on behalf of the ancient Egyptians?

Interestingly enough, Ahmad Al Gamal was not the first Egyptian to demand compensation from the Jewish people for the Ten Plagues and the jewels that the ancient Israelites received as loans that were never returned for their journey out into the desert, despite the enormous amount of time that has passed since the incident and the statute of limitations that should apply to such incidents.   In 2003, Al Ahram Al Arabi reported that Dr. Nabil Hilmi, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Al Zaqaziq, attempted to prepare an enormous lawsuit against Israel and world Jewry for the jewels that the ancient Israelites took with them during their exodus out of Egypt.

“If we assume that the weight of what was stolen was one ton, its worth doubled every 20 years, even if the annual interest is only 5%,” Dr. Hilmi explained. “In one ton of gold is 700 kg of pure gold - and we must remember that what was stolen was jewelry, that is, alloyed with copper. Hence, after 1,000 years, it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons, which equals 1,125,898 billion tons for 1,000 years. In other words, 1,125 trillion tons of gold, that is, a million multiplied by a million tons of gold. This is for one stolen ton.”

“The stolen gold is estimated at 300 tons, and it was not stolen for 1,000 years, but for 5,758 years, by the Jewish reckoning. Therefore, the debt is very large,” Dr. Hilmi continued.  “The value must be calculated precisely in accordance with the information collected, and afterward a lawsuit must be filed against all the Jews of the world, and against the Jews of Israel in particular, so they will repay the Egyptians the debt that appears in the Torah.”  

According to Rabbi Berel Wein, the Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin notes that the Egyptian nation appeared before Alexander the Great and demanded that the Jews return all of the wealth they had taken from Egypt a millennia earlier.  Alexander the Great then called for a Jewish representative to appear before him.  A man by the name of Gadha appeared before Alexander the Great and stressed that the Egyptians still owed the Jews enormous sums of money as payment for the centuries where the Jews served the Egyptians as slaves.   The Jews were slaves in Egypt for 210 years, where they worked long hours and suffered unspeakable brutality.  

Whenever the Jews could not complete their workload, Jewish sources stress that one of the Hebrew babies would be placed in the spot where the missing block was supposed to be and the baby was crushed to death.   This does not even include the death sentence imposed upon the male babies of the Hebrew slaves.  Except for a brief period during which Moses convinced Pharoah let the Jews rest on Shabbat, the Jews did not even have a day of rest.  Jewish women were also forced to work as slaves and they didn’t get maternity leave.   It can be alleged that if calculations were made for all of the hours that the Hebrew slaves put into working for the Egyptians over the course of 210 years, the jewels that the Israelis took with them from Egypt do not sufficiently compensate the Jewish people for all of the free hard labor they performed in Egypt.  As a result of Gadha’s eloquent defense, Alexander the Great ruled that the matter should be dropped.  For similar reasons, any similar lawsuit would be dropped in our times, especially given the statutes of limitations that are applied to such cases in the modern world.   


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