Opinion

Passover 2019: The 10 Plagues of Pharaoh Netanyahu and a Word About His Worst Enemy - Hope

And behold, plagues were abroad in the land, and the people suffered grievously. And these were the plagues of the land of the Pharaoh whose name was Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waves to his supporters after polls for Israel's Knesset elections closed in Tel Aviv, April 10, 2019.
Ariel Schalit/AP

Now it came to pass in the dwelling place of the children of Israel that a Pharaoh was placed over them. 

And behold, in the first year of his reign Pharaoh proclaimed that the descendants of Hagar and Abraham would be free in a nation of their own. And that the descendants of Sarah and Abraham would be free in a nation of their own.

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But Pharaoh's heart grew hard. And he hearkened not unto those who were oppressed. And a terrible darkness was cast over the land.

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And behold, plagues were abroad on the land, and the people suffered grievously. And these were the plagues of the land of the Pharaoh whose name was Netanyahu:

Occupation

Annexation

Segregation

Humiliation 

Demolition 

Child Incarceration

Tribalism

Kahanism 

The Nation-State Law

Sinat Hinam 

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But lo, the bitter enemy of Pharaoh was not the Hebrews. The enemy of Pharaoh was hope. And thus he sowed in the hearts of his subjects' hatred of one another and great trepidation.

And Pharaoh made covenants with rulers who were made strong by multitudes who hated the Hebrews. And Pharaoh laid gifts at the feet of the rulers, and praised them greatly, and feasted with them, and these rulers bore false witness to the heritage of the Hebrews, and the Pharaoh whose name was Netanyahu fell silent. 

And Pharaoh spoke ill of the stranger. And all of the people who were not his people, became outcasts. And Pharaoh decreed that the children of Hagar and Abraham would never be free in a land of their own. And the Hebrews who were outcasts understood from this, that they too would never be free in a land of their own.
 

And yet, there were those among the Hebrews who gathered on the Passover to tell their children a story of hope at a time of terrible darkness. 

One Passover night, aforetime in the land of Goshen, where the Hebrews lived, thousands and tens upon thousands of families gathered their belongings and took their animals and rose up and set out to free themselves. 

Their Pharaoh had betrayed them, and in betraying them, had freed them.

And the Hebrews came to the edge of a broad and deep sea. And they were told that with hope in freedom and the faith of a multitude, the sea would cleave in two and they would walk across the sand at its floor. 

And the miracle was done, but the Hebrews were not yet free. Their masters were now Hebrews, who told them to forfeit their heritage, betray their faith, build a golden calf, dance in its honor and make of themselves slaves once again to a god not their own. 

And it came to pass that whole generations would wander lost in this wilderness, erring in their path, prey to despair and disillusionment, before the Hebrews would find the land of promise. 

And behold, in our time, the Hebrews wander still, err still, despair.

But on this night, as every year, they will tell their children the story of the Hebrews who, one Passover long ago, and though drained of their every hope, rose up and set out on an impossible journey to free themselves.

And so, one day, it shall be. The Pharaoh whose name is Netanyahu, in betraying the children of Israel, will have freed them. To free themselves.

Next year in Jerusalem, may the ruler, whoever they may be, be plagued by the following, the heritage of the Hebrews:

Equality - Shiv'yon

Compassion - Hemla

Lovingkindness - Chesed

Tolerance - Savlanut

Coexistence - Du-Kiyum

Seeing to the Needy - Gemilut Chasadim

Justice - Tzedek

Liberation - Shichrur

Freedom - Cherut

Ahavat Chinam

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Next year in Jerusalem, may we be stricken with love of the migrant, of the stranger, of the other.

As it is written: We ourselves were once the stranger, the migrant, the Other, when we dwelt in the land of Pharaoh.  Whose heart had grown hard.