10 Plagues, 20th Century


Ten Plagues Mask
In 1997, Bernard Raskas argued for a metaphorical update of the ten plagues. While imagery of the plagues in the 20th century makes for an inexact parallel– for one thing, none target the ancient Egyptians — here are the ten plagues as referenced in the 20th century:
1. Blood

  • 1932 – Following the shooting of six young Jews in Soroca, witness testifies that he could see blood through the ice.
  • 1949 – "The Gestapo shot into the struggling mass of people. The blood of those hit spurted in all directions and colored the river blood-red," said a British prosecutor in a war crimes tribunal.

2. Frogs

  • 1971 – It’s a stretch, but a Soviet weapon gifted to Egypt was called the Frog missile

3. Lice

  • 1939 – At Zbonszyn on the German-Polish border… "There are a very great number suffering from mental shock. Sanitary conditions are horrible, owing to the pest of lice." 

4. Wild Animals

  • 1991 – Boar trips Israeli artillery hit on Lebanon.

5. Pestilence

6. Boils

  • 1941 – Young Jewish settlers on the shores of Jordan] are pestered by sand-flies, producing the uncomfortable "Jericho boils" on the flesh. 

7. Hail

  • 1997 – Hail, flooding kill five in Israel as storms rage during Sukkot. 

8. Locusts

9. Darkness

  • 1973 – "By nightfall Sunday, all Israel is under effective blackout. Tel Aviv and other cities are pitch black and car headlights are ordered painted blue."

10. Death of First Born 

  • 1970 – Kiryat Shemona shelled for second time in three days; youth killed, two brothers injured. 

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