Bringing the Jews Back to Egypt

Earlier this year, Rabbi Joshua Berman led a group of Israelis on the first-ever kosher tour of Egypt focused on sites relevant to biblical history. He describes this “mind-bending” experience:

In Egypt, for the first time in my life, I walked around a city where the vast majority of people were like me—devout practitioners of their religion. There was something liberating about not sticking out like a sore thumb in a secular liberal landscape.

To tour the sites of ancient Egypt is truly to walk in the footsteps of the Exodus. . . . Some of the discoveries are truly revealing. At the seder table, we recall how God delivered Israel from Egypt “with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” Most would be surprised to learn that this biblical phrase is actually Egyptian in origin: Egyptian inscriptions routinely describe the Pharaoh as “the mighty hand” and his acts as those of “the outstretched arm.”

None of this would [tour would have been possible] without the Abraham Accords, whose tailwinds have carried Egypt along as part of the moderate Suni axis and its rapprochement with the Jewish State. Egyptair, which for years refused to fly its planes into Tel Aviv, now does so with daily service. To be sure, this is not for love of Zion but for love of mammon. The Egyptians want Israeli business travelers to transit to Africa through Cairo. They want Jews to visit Egypt because it helps their economy. But not so long ago, such interests couldn’t overcome animosity and radical ideology.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Abraham Accords, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Exodus, Hebrew Bible


The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7