Jacob’s Sheep Come to Israel

After three years of negotiations between Jerusalem and Ottawa, three planeloads of sheep from British Columbia have arrived in Israel. These are no ordinary sheep, but an ancient breed known as “Jacob’s sheep,” as Melanie Lidman writes:

Genetic markings for the breed date back at least a few thousand years to the Middle East. The journey for the sheep began in ancient times and passed through North Africa. Moorish invaders later brought the breed to Spain, whence it came to England, where the animal was something of a trophy sheep. A number were brought to North America, originally for zoos and then later for commercial use.

The breed received the name “Jacob sheep” based on Genesis 30, where Jacob talks about leaving his father-in-law Laban’s home and taking part of the flock as his payment for years of service. “I will pass through all thy flock today, removing from thence every speckled and spotted one, and every dark one among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats; and of such shall be my hire,” he is quoted as saying in Genesis 30:32. . . .

But somewhere along the way, although the Jews returned to Israel, the uniquely speckled sheep did not return with them. . . . [T]he sheep has not been found in Israel for thousands of years.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Animals, Canada, Hebrew Bible, Jacob, Religion & Holidays

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