Israelis Prepare to Gather together for Passover

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The biblical holiday of Passover begins on Monday evening.

Israelis and Jews around the world will gather for a festive meal this evening where they retell the story of their miraculous escape from Egypt thousands of years ago.

In Jerusalem Monday, many Orthodox Jews, like Eli Dershowitz, symbolically burned the last bit of hametz (kha-metz), or leaven, in fires throughout the city. They'll eat unleavened bread throughout the seven-day holiday.

"It says in the Bible, it says in the Torah [first five books, sometimes referred to as Moses' law] for seven days to only eat matza [unleavened bread] and not to eat any hametz, symbolically of when the Jews left Egypt," Dershowitz told CBN News.

"They left in a hurry and they weren't able to make their bread and so the Torah tells us many, many, many laws how it's done," he explained. "But for the whole holiday of Passover we don't eat anything that rises."

The day before Passover, Israeli farmers battled swarms of locusts that crossed the border from Egypt. Locusts can be very damaging to crops.

The timing of the invasion is ironic since locusts are one of the plagues the Bible says God sent on the Egyptians as part of the redemption of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

Earlier this month, Israel's Ministry of Agriculture started crop-dusting to kill off earlier swarms that had invaded southern Israel. So far the locust swarms have not caused any appreciable damage to crops in Israel.

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