A prominent Egyptian legal scholar is preparing a lawsuit against Jews around the world over gold allegedly stolen in biblical times during the Jewish exodus from Egypt.
Nabil Hilmy, dean of the faculty of law at Egypt’s Zagazig University, announced his plan in the Egyptian government weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute — known as MEMRI — a group that specializes in translating articles in the Arab media. Hilmy reportedly told Al-Ahram that if the story of the exodus is to be believed, Jews fleeing Egypt “stole 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.”
Calling the alleged heist the “greatest fraud history has ever known,” Hilmy said that he and a number of Egyptian jurists will sue “the Jews of the world” for these lost treasures, the value of which Hilmy estimates in the trillions of dollars.
“If we assume that the weight of what was stolen was one ton,” Hilmy said, its worth “doubled every 20 years, even if annual interest is only 5%… hence after 1,000 years it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons… 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.”
Hilmy said that he and Gamil Yaken, the vice president of the Egyptian community in Switzerland, had “set up a legal team to prepare the necessary legal confrontation aimed at restoring what the Jews stole a long time ago, to which the statute of limitations cannot possibly apply.”
Hilmy said that while the defendants would not be able to repay the debt in full, Jews around the world — particularly Israelis — should pay their fair share: “There may be a compromise solution. The debt can be rescheduled over 1,000 years, with the addition of the cumulative interest during that period.”
MEMRI’s report has already created a tremendous splash in Israel, according to the organization’s president, Yigal Carmon, who oversaw the translation of Hilmy’s interview from Al-Ahram. “We had 1,200 reactions on our Web site,” Carmon told the Forward. “We sent it to [all] our subscribers — one in five reacted,” one of the largest reactions the group has ever received.
Carmon said if he had read the Al-Ahram article on April Fool’s Day he would have assumed it was a joke, but “it’s a reality. This publication is like [the Egyptian equivalent of] the Sunday New York Times insert — it’s a serious publication.”
Hilmy did not specify where he planned to file suit, but should the case ever reach a courtroom, Alan Dershowitz — a Harvard Law professor and author of “The Case For Israel” (Wiley) — told the Forward, “I’d be happy to defend the Jews.” Calling Hilmy a “clown” who “obviously knows [only] a little bit of law,” Dershowitz said that the scholar’s “ridiculous” suit invites a countersuit from the Jews over reparations for their enslavement in Egypt. Such a countersuit, Dershowitz said, could also be calculated in the trillions of dollars and would expose the oppressive life the Jews led under Egyptian slavery.
Not that Dershowitz believes that Hilmy’s case will ever be heard in court: “There’s no court that would be open to a lawsuit like that,” he said. “Maybe an Islamic court with an elbow, a foot and an ass on the scale.”