Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Passover

April 14, 2014
The Israelites Eat the Passover (illustration ...

The Israelites Eat the Passover (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

At sundown yesterday, the Jews began the celebration of Pesach or Passover, to commemorate what is perhaps the most significant event of Jewish history, the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. This year, Passover lasts until the evening of  April 21.

 

Exodus 12

The Passover

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do.

17 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.

29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

The Exodus

31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. 32Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt[b] was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.

Passover Restrictions

43The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover:

“No foreigner is to eat of it. 44 Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him, 45 but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it.

46 “It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

48 “An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat of it. 49 The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”

50 All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

 

Although Christians do not generally celebrate Passover, it does have great significance for Christianity. The Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples was a Passover seder.

 

Luke 22

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

The Last Supper

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

 

Jesus’s crucifixion is regarded as a sacrifice like the passover lamb and Christians regard the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt as a foreshadowing of Christ’s deliverance of the whole human race from the slavery of sin.

 

26 Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.  (Hebrews 7:26-28)

28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  (Hebrews 9:28)

 

So, Chag Sameach to any Jewish readers.

 

 

 

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Snow in Israel and Egypt

December 13, 2013

These are strange times we are living in. Right now, there is a snowstorm in Israel. I didn’t think it ever snowed there. It is even snowing in Egypt. Here is the story at the Israel National News via the Drudge Report.

Snow continues to fall across Israel Friday morning, reaching new regions of the country and causing major power outages and road closures. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat released a statement saying “we are battling a storm of rare ferocity.” The capital has over 37 centimeters (15 inches) of snow, with deeper snowfall in other areas.

A weather forecaster on public radio described the storm as “historic,” as Jerusalem temperatures already dropped to 2 degrees celsius (35.6 Fahrenheit), and are expected to drop below freezing. Snow is anticipated to continue falling through Saturday.

The views in Jerusalem are spectacular, as the hills of the city turn white and the rooftops in older neighborhoods wear a white contrast to the Jerusalem stone.

A power outage has affected more than half of Jerusalem, although some areas are reporting a return of electricity. In Kiryat Moshe, Merkaz Harav Yeshiva opened its dormitory and dining room to stranded families who reached the entrance of the city, where the yeshiva is located, but could not get to their destination.

Many more drivers were stuck on the roads in the city overnight, without food and water, after attempting to reach the city to see the snow.

The Jerusalem municipality is continuing with the rescue operations that began Thursday night and have so far saved over 2,000 people. The IDF and the Border Police are assisting in the operation.

Drivers who have been rescued have been taken to the Binyanei HaUma (International Convention Center), a community center in Mevaseret Zion and the Ofer Camp on Highway 443.

The Israeli police have released a particularly strong warning to drivers in affected areas against going out in blizzard conditions. Police have warned residents across the country to avoid leaving their homes for any reason during the snowfall.

Judea and Central Samaria villages are also receiving more snow – some for the first time in over ten years – including in Ariel, Nofim, Yakir, and Barkan.

In light of the situation, schools are closed in the following places: Yakir, Ariel, Barkan, Revava, Tapuah, Alei Zahav, Peduel, Rehalim, Nofei Nehemia, Bruhin, Kiryat Netafim, Yitzhar, Har Braha, Itamar, Alon Moreh, and Karnei Shomron.

Power outages have been reported across the central Samaria area; all roads are closed. The Shomron Regional Council is working to help Judea and Samaria residents and to provide aid.

I wonder if drivers there even know how to handle snow. Here is the story about the snow in Egypt from the LA Times again via the Drudge Report.

Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Middle East storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued  hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares. In other parts of the city, rain and hail rocketed down.

I’m surprised the Egyptians even know what snow is. Before, they could only have known snow from watching movies and television. There have also been records in cold and snow set here in the United States, as I have noticed whenever I have gone outside.

Meanwhile, solar activity is the weakest it has been observed for a century. Could this have some effect on the Earth’s climate? Perhaps we are in for a cold winter and a cool summer next year. Maybe even a repeat of the Little Ice Age. It may be that in the not too distant future we will be longing for some global warming.

Rand Paul and Egypt

July 8, 2013

Senator Rand Paul sent two tweets attacking “neocons” for supporting for military coup in Egypt and urging that foreign aid be cut off.

  1. In Egypt, democratic authoritarianism is replaced with military junta. American neocons say send them more of your money.

  2. In Egypt, governments come and go. The only thing certain is that American taxpayers will continue to be stuck with the $1.5 billion bill.

Personally, I would prefer that the military rule over Egypt rather than the Muslim Brotherhood. The military is less likely to start a war with Israel or massacre the Copts. Ideally, of course, would be democracy, but there is more to democracy than just regular elections. If there is no respect for the rights and property of the minority, or if the majority is perfectly happy voting themselves into slavery, than democracy doesn’t work all that well.
What seems to be forgotten by neocons and others is that democracy is not the ultimate end of government. The whole reason to have government is the protect the rights and liberties of the people ruled. A democratic government that is responsive to public opinion is more likely to protect people’s rights, but even a democratic government can be tyrannical towards the minority. We don’t just want democracy in places like Egypt. We want a government that will not oppress any of the people.
Getting back to Egypt, I think our best policy would be not to interfere in their politics. Just as in Syria, there are no clear good guys, and certainly no Washingtons or Jeffersons. It would probably also be a good idea to reduce the aid we give them, and cut out any military aid completely. There is no point in arming a potential adversary.

 

Passover

March 26, 2013
The Israelites Eat the Passover (illustration ...

The Israelites Eat the Passover (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

At sundown yesterday, the Jews began the celebration of Pesach or Passover, to commemorate what is perhaps the most significant event of Jewish history, the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. This year, Passover lasts until the evening of  April 2

 

Exodus 12

The Passover

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat—that is all you may do.

17 “Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. 28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.

29 At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

The Exodus

31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. 32Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39 With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt[b] was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the LORD kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.

Passover Restrictions

43The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover:

“No foreigner is to eat of it. 44 Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him, 45 but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it.

46 “It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

48 “An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat of it. 49 The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”

50 All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.

 

Although Christians do not generally celebrate Passover, it does have great significance for Christianity. The Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples was a Passover seder.

 

Luke 22

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

The Last Supper

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

 

Jesus’s crucifixion is regarded as a sacrifice like the passover lamb and Christians regard the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt as a foreshadowing of Christ’s deliverance of the whole human race from the slavery of sin.

 

26 Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.  (Hebrews 7:26-28)

28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.  (Hebrews 9:28)

 

So, Chag Sameach to any Jewish readers.

 

 

 

Egyptian Protesters

November 19, 2012

There have been protests all over Egypt over the recent Israeli acts of aggression against the peaceful Palestinians in Gaza. I read about it in Yahoo News.

Thousands of people protested in Egyptian cities on Friday against Israeli air strikes on Gaza and Egypt’s president pledged to support the Palestinian enclave’s population in the face of “blatant aggression”.

Western governments are watching Egypt’s response to the Gaza conflagration for signs of a more assertive stance towards Israel since an Islamist came to power in the Arab world’s most populous nation.

President Mohamed Mursi is mindful of anti-Israeli sentiment among Egyptians emboldened by last year’s Arab Spring uprising but needs to show Western allies his new government is no threat to Middle East peace.

His prime minister, Hisham Kandil, visited Gaza on Friday in a demonstration of solidarity after two days of strikes by Israeli warplanes targeting Gaza militants, who had stepped up rocket fire into Israel in recent weeks.

Gaza officials said 28 Palestinians, 16 of them civilians, had been killed in the enclave since Israel began the air offensive against the tiny, densely populated enclave ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Three Israelis were killed by a rocket on Thursday.

“We see what is happening in Gaza as blatant aggression against humanity,” Mursi said in comments carried by Egypt’s state news agency. “I warn and repeat my warning to the aggressors that they will never rule over the people of Gaza.

“I tell them in the name of all the Egyptian people that Egypt today is not the Egypt of yesterday, and Arabs today are not the Arabs of yesterday.”

The Egyptian foreign minister also spoke to his counterparts in the United States, Jordan, Brazil and Italy on Friday to discuss the situation in Gaza, a ministry statement said.

Mohamed Kamel Amr spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the necessity of cooperation between the United States and Egypt to end the military confrontations. Amr stressed the necessity of Israel ending attacks on Gaza and a truce being rebuilt between the two sides, the statement said.

Israeli ministers were asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists after Gaza militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day. Such a call-up could be the precursor of a ground invasion into Gaza, or just psychological warfare.

COLD PEACE

Mursi’s toppled predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, was a staunch U.S. ally who upheld a cold but stable peace with Israel.

The new president has vowed to respect the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state. But relations have been strained by protests that forced the evacuation of Israel’s ambassador to Cairo last year and cross-border attacks by Islamist militants.

More than 1,000 people gathered near Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque after Friday prayers, many waving Egyptian and Palestinian flags.

“Gaza Gaza, symbol of pride”, they chanted, and “generation after generation, we declare our enmity towards you, Israel”.

“I cannot, as an Egyptian, an Arab and a Muslim, just sit back and watch the massacres in Gaza,” said protester Abdel Aziz Nagy, 25, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Protesters were marching from other areas of Cairo towards Tahrir Square, the main rallying point for last year’s uprising that toppled Mubarak.

In Alexandria, around 2,000 protesters gathered in front of a mosque, some holding posters demanding Egypt’s border crossing to Gaza be opened to allow aid into the impoverished enclave.

Hundreds also gathered in the cities of Ismailia, Suez and al-Arish to denounce Israel’s attacks.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s influential seat of Islamic learning, called on all Arabs and Muslims to unite in support of their brothers in Gaza, the state news agency MENA said.

“The Zionists are seeking to eliminate all (Palestinians) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Ahmed al-Tayyib, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, said in comments carried by MENA.

Al-Tayyib denounced the position of world powers on the Gaza crisis, describing them as having “forgotten their humanitarian duties … and standing on the side of the aggressors,” according to MENA.’

I completely agree with these protesters. It is absolutely unconscionable that the Israelis should respond to the peaceful rocket attacks on their territory with air strikes and a possible ground invasion. Doesn’t the Israeli government know that the state of Israel, alone of all the nations of the world, does not have a right to defend its territory and citizens.

Seriously though, if they do not want “massacres” in Gaza, perhaps they should tell Hamas to stop attacking Israel. I put massacres in quotes because I know perfectly well that the IDF is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties.

It does seem beyond belief to me that the attackers in this incident are labeled the victims and the defenders are labeled aggressors, but this is an increasingly Orwellian world we live in.

Egypt to Try US Citizen for Blasphemy

September 23, 2012

I read this story in the Hill last week.

Egypt’s general prosecutor on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for Florida Pastor Terry Jones and seven Coptic Christian Egyptians linked to an anti-Islam video on YouTube that sparked riots across the Middle East, The Associated Press is reporting.

The eight individuals, none of whom are believed to be in Egypt, are charged with harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information. They could face the death penalty.

Jones promoted a 14-minute trailer for the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The man behind the film, California-based Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, is also among those charged.

I expect that the  Justice Department will be arranging for their arrest and  extradition as quickly as possible. Though maybe Obama will wait until after the election when he will be more flexible.

Worst of Both Worlds

June 24, 2012

I said that with Obama we get the corruption and lawlessness of Richard Nixon and the incompetence and fecklessness of Jimmy Carter. Last week, we saw the lawlessness with Obama’s invoking of Executive Privilege. This week, we will see the incompetence and stupidity of his foreign policy. The weeks starts off with the Muslim Brotherhood‘s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, winning the presidential election in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi has officially won Egypt’s presidential election and will be the country’s next president, the electoral commission has announced.

Morsi picked up 13.2 million votes out of just over 26 million, giving him about 51 per cent of the vote. His competitor, Ahmed Shafik, the final prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, received 12.3 million. More than 800,000 ballots were invalidated.

The president-elected delivered a victory address on Sunday night. He spoke on state television, long a medium which demonised him and the Muslim Brotherhood. He thanked the Egyptian people for their votes, calling them “my family” and “my beloved,” and promised to work to “restore their rights.”

“I have no rights, only responsibilities,” Morsi said. “If I do not deliver, do not obey me.”

He also reached out to the army, the police, and Egypt’s intelligence services, thanking them for their work in protecting the country, and promised to “preserve” the military.

This is not, to put it mildly, a positive development for US interests, peace in the region, or freedom for the Egyptian people. In fairness, there is not much Obama could, or really should, have done about this. I suppose this election was more or less a fair one and many Egyptians perhaps prefer Islamist tyranny over the incompetent military despotism they have been enduring. Still, it was indecent for Obama to throw Mubarak under the bus by calling for an end to his rule last year. It was indecent and unwise, considering who his opposition really was.

But, I can and do fault Obama for his apparent cluelessness over what Morsi’s victory most likely means for Egypt. I am going to quote the entirety of this article in Politico.

The White House congratulated Egypt‘s president-elect Mohamed Morsi on his victory in that country’s presidential election, calling it a “milestone” in the country’s transition to democracy.

“We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States,” press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

Morsi, a member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party, was announced as the winner in the election Sunday morning — but the extent of the powers of the presidency are still in flux with Egypt’s military threatening to curtain the powers of the presidency.

“We believe that it is important for President-elect Morsi to take steps at this historic time to advance national unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies in consultations about the formation of a new government. We believe in the importance of the new Egyptian government upholding universal values, and respecting the rights of all Egyptian citizens – including women and religious minorities such as Coptic Christians.  Millions of Egyptians voted in the election, and President-elect Morsi and the new Egyptian government have both the legitimacy and responsibility of representing a diverse and courageous citizenry,” Carney said.

“The United States intends to work with all parties within Egypt to sustain our long-standing partnership as it consolidates its democracy.  We commend the Presidential Election Commission and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for their role in supporting a free and fair election, and look forward to the completion of a transition to a democratically-elected government,” Carney said. “We believe it is essential for the Egyptian government to continue to fulfill Egypt’s role as a pillar of regional peace, security and stability.  And we will stand with the Egyptian people as they pursue their aspirations for democracy, dignity, and opportunity, and fulfill the promise of their revolution.”

I sincerely hope that this is just for sort of diplomatic nonsense that Presidents are expected to say on such occasions. Because if Obama really believes the sentiments in his Press Secretary’s statement, than he is even more naïve than the people in the Carter administration who believed the Ayatollah Khomeini would just be a religious figurehead in a democratic Iran. Indeed, I am beginning to see a frightening similarity between what is going on in Egypt and the events in Iran back in 1978, and the American president’s reactions.

Meanwhile, Israel is becoming more nervous, with good reason. In the article from the AP, Prime Minister Netanyahu tries to put a good face on the election results, but he is clearly unhappy.

Israel’s prime minister says he hopes peace with Egypt will remain intact after it chose an Islamist president.

Israel has been apprehensive about the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood taking the top spot in neighboring Egypt, because the veteran Islamist group does not formally recognize Israel.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979.

Reacting to the announcement that the Muslim Brotherhood candidate won, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoped the treaty would stand.

“Israel expects to continue cooperation with the Egyptian government on the basis of the peace agreement between the two countries, which is of interest to the two peoples and contributes to regional stability,” Netanyahu said in a statement Sunday.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has said it would maintain the treaty but would demand changes in it.

I do not think there will be open war any time soon. The Muslim Brotherhood would seek to consolidate its power in Egypt first and, as long as the military has any influence , they will prefer to keep the peace rather than start a war they know they could not win. There might be trouble a few years down the road though. If the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule does not improve Egypt’s economy, they could well decide to start trouble with Israel as a distraction. I think that it would be a very good idea for the US to limit military aid and cooperation with Egypt right now, and make it very clear, as Obama has not, that continued economic aid is contingent on the Egyptian government keeping peace with Israel and respecting the rights of religious minorities. But, this would require a more clear-headed grasp of events in the Middle east than anyone in the Obama administration has so far shown.

Carter Pleased with Egyptian Election Results

January 10, 2012
Former President Jimmy Carter

Jackass

I had been wondering if Jimmy Carter could possibly top himself after sending condolences to North Korea over the loss of  their Dear Leader. Well, I need wonder no more. The radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and the really radical Salafi Muslims are taking over Egypt and Carter is “pleased”. Here is the story at Breitbart.com.

Former US president Jimmy Carter gave the thumbs up on Tuesday to Egypt’s parliamentary elections, saying the people’s will was “expressed accurately.”

“We have been very pleased,” Carter told reporters during a tour of a polling station at the Rod al-Farag girls’ secondary school in a working class district of the Egyptian capital

He said the election — a three-staged process launched in November to choose the first parliament since mass protests forced former president Hosni Mubarak to quit — had been peaceful despite “some problems.”

“But in general the will of the people has been expressed accurately,” he said on the eve of the end of the polls.

I don’t doubt that the will of the Egyptian people has been expressed. That is actually most of the problem with democracy in the Middle East. What the people want is not tolerance and freedom.

Egypt’s two main Islamist parties have scored a crushing victory in the seats declared so far, reflecting a regional trend since Arab Spring uprisings overthrew authoritarian secular regimes.

Asked about Islamists coming to power, Carter said: “I have no problem with that. The US government has no problem with that either.”

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s best organised political movement, has claimed the lead through its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).

It has been closely followed by Al-Nur, which represents the ultra-conservative Salafi brand of Islam, raising fears among increasingly marginalised liberals about the prospects for civil liberties and religious freedom.

I have a problem with the Islamists coming to power in Egypt. This is a disaster for our policy in the Middle East as great as the loss of Iran during Carter’s watch. I wonder if Carter is aware that the new government in Egypt will very likely abrogate the peace treaty with Israel, undoing the accomplishment he is most proud of. Why doesn’t Jimmy Carter stay in Plains, Georgia where he can’t do any harm?

Book Burning in Egypt

January 1, 2012

In the year 642 the Arab armies led by Amr ibn al-Aas captured the city of Alexandria in Egypt. According to some reports, al-Aas wrote back to the Caliph Omar for instructions on what to do with the famous library. Omar wrote back that if the books agree with the Koran, al-Aas should destroy them as they are unnecessary, if they do not agree with the Koran, destroy them as they are blasphemous. It is not clear whether that story is true or not. Other reports have the library destroyed by a Christian mob, or by Julius Caesar. Whether it is true or not, it would seem that at least some of the increasingly powerful Islamists in Egypt wholeheartedly agree with the supposed sentiments of the Caliph Omar, as can be seen in this article in Israel Today.

On December 17, an Egyptian mob – presumably of the type that has been voting for the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nour – demonstrated that they have no intention of “modernizing” or adopting Western-style pragmatism when they torched the Institute of Egypt in Cairo.

Among the casualties of the Islamist assault were some 192,000 rare books and manuscripts.

The Institute of Egypt was established by Napoleon Bonaparte when he invaded Egypt in the late 18th century. For centuries the Institute of Egypt housed priceless chronicles of the nation’s history, as well as the findings of hundreds of top scholars and scientists.

The Institute of Egypt symbolized Egypt’s connection to the West, and for many its establishment was the start of the “modern era” in Egypt. And that is why it had to go. Because Egypt’s Islamists have no intention of modernizing, not on Western terms, at any rate. Like the Ayatollahs in Iran and Hamas in Gaza, their ultimate goal is to return Egypt to a medieval form of life where a strict interpretation of Sharia Law governs the actions of all.

If the library was established by Napoleon, than the books probably don’t agree with the Koran.

Thanks to Jihad Watch for mentioning this.

 

Muslim Brotherhood Gaining in Egypt

December 1, 2011

Oh, crap. Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood seem to be doing very well in the Egyptian elections. I didn’t expect any other outcome but I don’t like reading about it. Here is the story in Israel National News.

Judges overseeing the vote count in Egypt’s parliamentary elections say Islamist parties have won a majority of the contested seats in the first round. The judges spoke on condition of anonymity because official results are expected to be released later Thursday.

They say the Muslim Brotherhood could take 45 percent of the seats up for grabs. The liberal Egyptian bloc coalition and the ultra-fundamentalist Nour party are competing for second place.

Together, Islamist parties are expected to control a majority of parliamentary seats by March. This week’s vote was the first of six stages of parliamentary elections that will last until then.

Continued success by Islamists will allow them to give Cairo’s government and constitution a decidedly Islamist character. It could also lead Cairo to shift away from the West towards the Iranian axis.

I think that it might not have been such a good idea to throw Mubarak under the bus quite so quickly. He may have been an SOB but he was our SOB and probably won’t be as bad as whoever ends up running Egypt.

Why do I keep having flashbacks to 1979?

 


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