Hunting for Evidence of the Exodus in Egypt

Last year, Bar-Ilan University’s Joshua Berman set out for the former land of the Pharaohs to view evidence supporting his case, previously set forth in Mosaic, for the historicity of the biblical account of the Israelites’ enslavement and redemption. Rossella Tercatin reports:

“The Torah is infused with Egyptian culture and its response to it,” Berman said, . . . “suggesting that the Israelites were indeed in Egypt, and they were there for a long time, but also that the way the Torah engages with this material is what today we would call cultural appropriation—a people using the propaganda of their oppressors and making it their own,” he said.

“The Lord freed us from Egypt by a mighty hand, by an outstretched arm and awesome power, and by signs and portents,” reads a verse in the book of Deuteronomy describing the Exodus. The expression “mighty hand and outstretched arm” appears multiple times in the Bible, but only in the context of the Exodus. Berman said this is not by chance, as these praises were used in Egypt as well.

The use of names of clear Egyptian origin in the Torah also suggests the close connection with Egyptian culture, he said. “Miriam, for example, means ‘beloved of the God Amun,’” he added.

Last year, he was finally able to fulfill his dream of visiting Egypt and the different sites bearing evidence of what he learned. On Monday, he set out to Egypt once again, leading a special ten-day kosher trip to visit the same sites.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, 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