Ze’ev Meshel

PHOTO FINISH. Two youths race camels across the desert as part of the festivities surrounding Zu’ara, the annual Bedouin pilgrimage to the wilderness tombs of their tribal sheikhs (the buildings visible in the background). When God had Moses tell Pharaoh to “‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness’” (Exodus 5:1), they may have been using this common nomadic custom to enable the Israelites to escape from Egypt. As author Ze’ev Meshel demonstrates, studying the age-old practices of the Sinai Bedouin provides striking parallels with the Biblical account of the Israelites’ post-Exodus sojourn in the desert.