03/07/2013, 00.00
ISRAEL - EGYPT

Locusts: a dark omen for Muslim Brotherhood, a delicacy for Jews

Over 30 million insects have invaded the Giza plateau, destroying crops along the Nile at Cairo before heading for Israel. The population on social networks invites the Muslim Brotherhood to resign and asks: " Is this ‘the good’ the Muslim Brotherhood promised to bring us?". Middle Eastern Orthodox Jews come out at night to hunt insects and eat them, rising controversy for European Rabbis.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After invading Cairo and the neighboring cities, more than 30 million locusts from Sudan have arrived in Israel, leaving behind thousands of hectares of destroyed fields. It is the worst invasion since the one that devastated Cairo in 2007. In addition to material incalculable damage, the invasion of insects also provoking comment: For most of the Egyptians it is an ominous sign for the future, reminiscent of the plague from the time of Moses. For many Jews, especially Yemenites, it is instead an opportunity to stock up on a traditional snack.

Every three years swarms ranging from 10 to 100 million locusts migrate from Sudan. Their location depends on the wind and the obstacles they face.

The swarm, which in recent days hit the Giza plateau and agricultural areas on both banks of the Nile arrived overnight in the Negev desert in Israel. According to experts, the invasion could have been avoided. The Egyptian army tried unsuccessfully to stop the locusts in the desert, using poisons deemed too light. The Israeli military were able instead to confine the locusts to the desert.

"Is this 'the good' the Muslim Brotherhood promised to bring us?" tweets, a young blogger, expressing the opinion of thousands of Egyptians frustrated by the failures of the government, who cannot even defend them from insects. "The phenomenon is cyclical - responds Karam Saber, a lawyer from the Egypt Center for Human Rigths - It's an easy procedure, and the country should be prepared for it. Tools to combat locusts are developed on a yearly basis. The weakness of Egypt's government reflected on the Ministry of Agriculture and resulted in what we see today. "

In Israel, the locusts have resurrected an age old dispute dating back to the 17th century. Orthodox Jews from Yemen and other areas of the Middle East, traditionally eat insects and have taken advantage of to stock up on the locusts. Many rabbis of European origin have challenged their fellow-Middle Easterns quoting an ancient law prohibiting some types of locusts not deemed "Kosher", i.e. that do not comply with the dictates of the Mosaic Law. Despite the no of many religious leaders, on Israeli cooking websites people continue to post locusts recipes that can be eaten fried, raw, with hot sauce or grilled.

 

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