In December 1977, Israeli politicians and journalists were allowed once again, after so long, to visit the Egyptian pyramids. It was during this visit that a saying of their Prime Minister Menachem Begin went around: ‘Just think! Your forefathers built these marvellous works!’ What memories does this reminder call forth? Does it express Israel's unyielding self-assurance, which not only runs across the traces of its own history all over the Near Middle East, but also calls them to the attention of others? Should the representatives of Modern Egypt perhaps be told that they stand in a different sort of continuity with the great dynasties on the Nile from the Jews? Or does Begin's reminder also revive the ineradicable knowledge of Israel's helplessness, which in the grey dawn of its history drove its fathers to the granaries of Egypt and made them there dependent upon their providers, until the time came when Yahweh led them ‘out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage’ (Exod. 20:2)?