Jacob Sheep Arrive In Israel!
After months of waiting, the first of the Jacob Sheep flock have started to arrive in Eretz Israel, according to a statement released on Monday from the Friends of the Jacob Sheep non-profit organization. Nearly half of the Jacob sheep flock will have arrived by tomorrow, Gil and Jenna Lewinsky said in an email today.
Within two weeks, a total of 119 sheep will be resettled in their native land of Israel, for the first time in 2,500 years. When the people of Israel returned to their ancestral land in 1948, their livestock did not...until now.
What makes this story so special is that even the day that the first sheep landed held significance. It was on the 28 of Heshvan, Jenna Lewinsky told the Times of Israel. This date coincides with the day Noah left the ark.
Just like Noah was held in confinement in the ark, the sheep have been in quarantine since the last week of July.
Their arrival also coincided with the Parasha Vayetzei, the Torah reading which “commemorates the origin of the Jacob Sheep in Genesis 30-31,” according to the statement.
In addition, The Times of Israel is reporting that when the sheep arrived, it rained in Israel, an area that had been previously been experiencing a drought.
As we reported this summer, the sheep will still need to complete a time of quarantine in Israel. Jenna Lewinsky told BBC radio that they would be staying with the sheep in the Negev desert for forty days during their time of quarantine, likening it to how Moses and the Israelites spent forty years in the desert before entering the Promised Land in the Bible.
This journey, however, has not been without adversity. When I covered the gala in Hamilton, Ontario on September 5th, the sheep were supposed to fly home later that week. The first sheep did not return until nearly three months later.
They were initially refused government quarantine, but they are now in a special facility in Southern Israel.
There have also been financial difficulties. The Times of Israel is reporting that the El Al airline subsidy, which would have covered ninety percent of the flight costs fell through following an airline strike. As a result, at the last minute, the Lewinsky's had to find other flight options, at an estimated cost of $80,000 to $100,000, according to the article.
If you'd like to help offset some of these costs, click here.
After quarantine is completed, the sheep will live in a Heritage Park where visitors from all over Israel and abroad can come to see this rare breed of sheep, Jenna Lewinsky said during an interview with Logos Post this summer in Hamilton, Ontario. In addition, they hope to create tallits and prayer shawls out of the rare Jacob wool.
(Photo courtesy of Friends of the Jacob Sheep- used with permission)