How the Mossad Saved a Biblical Deer Species from Iran

Nov. 25 2020

Among the undomesticated mammals listed as kosher in the book of Deuteronomy, is the yaḥmur, usually thought to be the fallow deer or roebuck. The creature is mentioned only one other time in the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Kings, which states that the daily provisioning of Solomon’s palace included “ten fattened oxen, twenty pasture-fed oxen, and 100 sheep and goats, besides deer and gazelles, fallow deer and fatted geese.” While this species was once plentiful in the Land of Israel, they were thought to have become extinct in the 19th century—until, in the 1950s, a small population was discovered in Persia. Aaron Reich recounts the remarkable rescue operation that ensued, details of which only recently became public knowledge:

Israel tried to arrange with the shah of Iran for two members of the small Persian fallow-deer herd to be sent to Israel. Their efforts included Avraham Yoffe, [a former general and then then the head of the Nature and Parks Authority], working to court the shah’s brother, avid hunter Prince Abdol Reza Pahlavi, inviting him to the Negev to hunt Nubian ibex. The ibex is a protected species in Israel but then-agricultural minister Ariel Sharon made an exception, . . . but no progress was made for nearly two decades.

[At last], Yoffe himself went to Tehran to retrieve the deer on invitation from the shah’s brother, but had a mild heart attack on arrival. . . . But everything changed in December 1978. Sensing the impending revolution, the Nature and Parks Authority was called by the shah, who told them to dispatch Mossad agents immediately to secure the deer.

By the time the agent arrived—reportedly the zoologist Mike Van Grevenbroek, armed with a blowgun disguised as a cane—nobody was there to greet him. The shah and his family had fled the country, and the agent was ordered to leave at once.

Despite the circumstances, the operation succeeded, and Israel now has a few hundred of the deer, which are being gradually reintroduced into the wild.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Animals, Hebrew Bible, Mossad, Nature, Persia


American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy