The Ingathering of the (Shark) Exiles

An interview with the Israeli marine ecologist Eyal Bigal offers an original angle on life in and around the Jewish state. Israel’s shark population is flourishing, which, as well as being good for the sharks and the marine ecosystem, is good for Israeli research institutions. Because of the increase, Israel is becoming a hub for Mediterranean shark research. Says Bigal:

The Mediterranean is one of the most dangerous environments for sharks. Over the last 60 to 70 years, we’ve lost 95 percent of the population. In recent years, however, Israel has become an unlikely home for the sharks during the winter months. What’s been fascinating is that the sharks have been aggregating around the country’s coastal power stations, perhaps due to the higher temperatures, creating a jacuzzi effect near the plants.

Has Israel done anything to aid the growth of these new guests?

Without realizing it, Israel is actually doing a lot to help. Because sharks aren’t kosher, they’re not being fished for, and we’ve created somewhat of a safe haven for them, unlike in many nearby regions. . . . This is still one of the most nutrient-poor regions in the world and it’s thus very surprising that top marine predators should have been coming here in large numbers.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israel & Zionism, Nature, Sharks

Israeli Indecision on the Palestinian Issue Is a Sign of Strength, Not Weakness

Oct. 11 2019

In their recent book Be Strong and of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped Its Destiny, Dennis Ross and David Makovsky—who both have had long careers as Middle East experts inside and outside the U.S. government—analyze the “courageous decisions” made by David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzḥak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon. Not coincidentally, three of these four decisions involved territorial concessions. Ross and Makovsky use the book’s final chapter to compare their profiles in courage with Benjamin Netanyahu’s cautious approach on the Palestinian front. Calling this an “almost cartoonish juxtaposition,” Haviv Rettig Gur writes:

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli history, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict