dean plans suit against
When, after the Ten Plagues, Pharaoh finally let Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, says the book of Exodus, the former slaves "plundered the Egyptians."
Now, more than three millennia later, Egypt wants its stuff back.
Nabil Hilmi, dean of the law school at Egypt's University of Al-Zaqaziq, is suing "all the Jews of the world" for stealing "from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewelry, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing, and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless," according to the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram Al-Arabi (translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute).
"If we assume that the weight of what was stolen was one ton, [its worth] doubled every 20 years, even if the annual interest is only 5 percent," Hilmi told the paper.
In one ton of gold is 700 kg of pure gold—and we must remember that what was stolen was jewelry, that is, alloyed with copper. Hence, after 1,000 years, it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons, which equals 1,125,898 billion tons for 1,000 years. In other words, 1,125 trillion tons of gold, that is, a million multiplied by a million tons of gold. This is for one stolen ton. The stolen gold is estimated at 300 tons, and it was not stolen for 1,000 years, but for 5,758 years, by the Jewish reckoning. Therefore, the debt is very large … The value must be calculated precisely in accordance with the information collected, and afterward a lawsuit must be filed against all the Jews of the world, and against the Jews of Israel in particular, so they will repay the Egyptians the debt that appears in the Torah.
Hilmi says he got the statistics from Exodus 35:12-36, which details the gold and other materials needed for the Tabernacle.
"This is the Middle East, and it's no joke. Nor is Hilmi a crackpot:" Yossi Klein Halevi writes in The Jerusalem Post. "The surrealistic suit says much about the quality of moral discourse in the Arab world today. … In the culture of self-pity that has gripped the Arab world, justice and grievance belongs to its side alone. Still, there is, potentially, good news in this deeply depressing story. By intending to sue 'every Jew in the world' for the theft of Pharaoh's gold, Hilmi is acknowledging that Jews are the legitimate descendants of the children of Israel."
Beth Goodtree is similarly excited in an article for the Israel Insider. "Now that Dr. Hilmi has recognized the Bible as historical fact, we Jews should comb the Bible for historical references to Jewish ownership of other lands and sites that are rightfully Jewish," she writes. "We should then sue all the interlopers and usurpers to get back that which is ours. And our chief witness can be Dr. Hilmi, G-d bless his hateful little heart."
Still, Hilmi should catch up on his history, explains Rabbi Avi Shafran of Aish.com:
The Talmud tells of precisely such a claim lodged over 2000 years ago in a world court of sorts presided over by none other than Alexander the Great.
The story is recounted in Sanhedrin 91a, where it is recorded that one Geviha ben Pesisa responded on the Jews' behalf. A paraphrase of the excerpt follows:
"What is your source?" Geviha asked the Egyptian representatives.
"The Torah," they replied.
"Very well," said Geviha, "I too will invoke the Torah, which says that the Jews spent 430 years laboring in Egypt. Please compensate us for 600,000 men's work for that period of time."
The Egyptians, the Talmud continues, then asked Alexander for three days during which to formulate a response. The recess was granted but the representatives, finding no counter-argument, never returned.
Ted Olsen Christianity Today, Week of September 1, 2003