Egypt Invites Jews Back as Slaves for Old Times’ Sake
Cairo, Egypt (AP) – Embattled Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi took time today to extend an olive branch of sorts to Jews throughout the world, inviting them to return to his country to assume once again the social status they had there several millennia ago.
“We look forward to welcoming back the descendants of the ancient Hebrews to occupy the niche they filled so well all those years ago,” read a statement by Morsi. “We would also like to conduct a thorough reckoning of the possessions that the departing Israelites ostensibly ‘borrowed’ from their Egyptian neighbors and have yet to return.”
Jewish lore records Egypt as the venue of a formative stage in the development of the Israelite nation, namely their centuries of subjugation and oppression at the hands of the Egyptians in the second millennium before the Common Era. The period of Israelite residence in Egypt began innocently enough, with Jacob’s offspring rising to prominence and flourishing. Soon, however, the Egyptian ruling class saw them as a threat and levied increasingly oppressive taxes and workloads on the emerging Hebrew people. The enslavement ended after ten plagues were visited on Egypt by the Israelite deity, and the newly liberated nation despoiled Egypt as the relieved host nation welcomed their departure.
The Egyptian model has served other societies that played host to the descendants of the Israelites. Most recently, Nazi Germany adopted a swift program of segregation, oppression, enslavement and extermination of Jews following centuries of significant Jewish contribution to German culture, society, industry and scientific achievement. In fifteenth-century Spain, the once-tolerant kingdoms adopted a progressively more hostile attitude, culminating in the expulsion of all openly practicing Jews in 1492, followed by a similar move by Portugal in 1497. Jews had contributed positively to Iberian society, culture and politics since at least the tenth century.
Many analysts see Morsi’s move as a two-pronged strategy. “Of course he wants to take some of the heat off himself,” said Nate Thenlever, a fellow with the Brookings Institution, a think-tank. “Egypt is convulsing with political unrest right now. And if the President can reestablish the existence of a slave class to serve the rest of Egyptian society, that will relieve a good bit of the economic and social underpinnings of the revolution.”
Jews worldwide have responded with confusion to the overture. “Huh?” said Moshe Cohen, 75, of Ramat Gan, Israel. “My family was kicked out of Egypt after the 1967 war and had all our assets confiscated. Is Morsi going to give them back?” When informed that the Egyptian President intends to take even more from Jews, Cohen muttered a phrase from the Passover Haggadah about being oppressed in every generation yet surviving.
Egypt and southern Israel have been blanketed this week by swarms of locusts, the eighth of the ten plagues.
Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where the locusts feel unwelcome on account of the stench.