Winter in Israel is time to bloom! Flowers start to appear everywhere. The unfortunate tourists may never see this explosion of botanical beauty as summer has dried up every bit of vegetation or nearly! Related to the daffodils, the yellow-orange sternbergies are with the crocus the first flowers to show up in early winter and they definitely brighten the landscapes of the Galilee and the Negev.
Across open lands small herds of gazelles can be sometimes observed. This animal, symbol of grace and beauty, has been frequently used to represent Eretz Israel (Eretz Hatzvi) or the Jewish people himself. In the famous Song of Songs (Shir HaShirim), we find the gazelle on seven different occasions!
According to the Talmud, this is what they sang in the Land of Israel before the bride “No makeup, no makeup, no dye and yet she is beautiful like a gazelle! “
Nowadays one can find two species of gazelle (Hebrew “Tzvi” צבי, the name used in English and other languages is of Arabic origin) common gazelle or mountain gazelle or Israel ישראלי. צבי abundant in north and the Dorcas gazelle (or Negev gazelle or desert gazelle) הנג. צבי rare, living in semi-desertic regions of the southern half of the country.
While these animals have virtually disappeared from Israel’s neighboring countries, victims of unbridled hunting, in Israel, being protected, gazelles have increased many folds in recent decades, sometimes at a phenomenal rate causing some damage to crops and plantations, angering some farmers. Electric fences were installed to overcome these drawbacks.
Another, almost magical solution, however difficult to implement, was discovered at the Tel Aviv Zoo: lion droppings placed on the land to protect effectively discouraged gazelles to make destructive incursions ! the only concern, of size, is how to get enough of these droppings to cover the needs of farmers at the national level ?
In spite of these drawbacks, the graceful gazelle does not fail to captivate us and her encounter in nature delights our eyes and fills us with pure delight. We wish a very long life to these beautiful living creatures who share with us the same sacred land!