Like the Ancestors of Today’s Dogs, Israeli Jackals May Be Undergoing Domestication

The jackal is likely mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible, although in each case the translation is disputed. But there is no doubt that these genetic relatives of wolves and dogs have roamed the Levant for millennia, and are still found in the wild in Israel. Recently, zoologists have noticed some significant changes in their behavior. Pesach Benson writes:

Golden jackals, an overabundant species in urban habitats, have long been observed thriving near human populations. However, a Tel Aviv University study conducted on the Golan Heights suggests that the existing closeness between humans and jackals might be initiating the first stages of domestication, akin to the domestication of dogs from wolves.

During a camera survey on the Golan Heights, the researchers discovered five unusual jackals with long fur, white patches, and upright tails. One of these jackals, nicknamed “Jackie,” became the focal point of the study. One indicator of domestication is a change in fur color. . . . Genetic and skull examinations confirmed that Jackie was 100-percent jackal, ruling out any dog hybridization or known coat-color mutations.

The discovery of Jackie raises the possibility that this might be an incipient stage of self-domestication, a phenomenon that has not been witnessed in the thousands of years since the domestication of the last wild mammal. Israel, particularly the Golan region, holds historical significance as the birthplace of plant and mammal domestication.

Read more at JNS

More about: Animals, Hebrew Bible, Land of Israel


Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security