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.