By Zahi Hawass
In my opinion, the Israelite Exodus from Egypt will remain a point of controversy amongst scientists and researchers until the Day of Judgment or until new archaeological evidence is unearthed that is able to settle this issue. However in light of the information currently available to historians and archaeologists, we can do no more than practice moderation and caution.
There have been whispers in the archaeological community following the discovery of the Aper-al tomb in the Saqqara region in the area known as Abwab al-Qotat [Doors of the Cats] by French archaeologist Alain Zivie. Abwab al-Qotat was given its name following the discovery of thousands of mummified cats interred in the tomb. It is well known that ancient Egyptians worshipped the goddess Bastet, which had the head of a cat. The center for the worship of Bastet was located in Tell Basta, which is in the [Egyptian] city of Zagazig, and was formerly known as Bubastis, which was derived from the word ‘Bastet’.
Zivie discovered the tomb by travelling deep underground until he reached the burial chamber which was carved into the rock more than 30 meters underground. Zivie was forced to seek the assistance of French engineers working on the Cairo metro project in order to restore the tomb and strengthen its walls to allow him to safely reach the burial chamber. Zivie therefore discovered the first almost untouched Modern Kingdom tomb in Saqqara.
The discovery of this tomb which took place almost 20 years ago remains an important archaeological event. The reason for this is that the person buried in the tomb was known as "Aper-al" and this is an Egyptianized form of a Hebrew name.