How Israel Saved the Ibex

Oct. 18 2019

Mentioned frequently in the Bible, the ibex—a type of wild goat—was once widespread in the Land of Israel, especially in the Negev desert. But by the time of Israel’s founding it had disappeared almost completely, having succumbed to the proliferation of firearms among Bedouin. Thanks to more recent conservation efforts, however, there has been a resurgence in the population. Alon Tal writes:

The psalmist singled out two habitat-specific species of the Negev: “The high mountains are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for the rabbits (hyrax)” (Psalm 104:18). The book of Samuel describes a hysterical King Saul pursuing David in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.

Ibex . . . need to live near drinking water. These water sources were well known by the locals, and the goats became easy prey. The conventional wisdom I heard among the older generation of Israel’s nature lovers was that during the British Mandate, ibex provided the stock for a popular Bedouin soup. It didn’t take long until there were simply none left to shoot. Against all odds, however, a few ibexes apparently were sufficiently crafty (or remote) to hold on.

Once the new state of Israel was established, Heinrich Mendelsohn—the father of Israeli ecology—and his colleagues convinced the government to enact stringent regulations that enabled nature to rebound. Hunting was outlawed. . . . The few surviving ibex enjoyed some respite. Slowly but surely, their numbers grew.

Although wildlife censuses are notoriously imprecise, official government sources estimate that [as] many as a thousand ibex at times roam the southlands and the Golan Heights.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Animals, Hebrew Bible, Land of Israel

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism