What the Land of Israel Looked Like Before Zionism

Water buffalo were wiped out, fruit bats were exterminated and black goats were almost completely eradicated. The story of animals of the Land of Israel that were eliminated under Zionism is now being told at the Venice Biennale

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Water buffalo cooling off in Lake Hula, in the 1920s.
Water buffalo cooling off in Lake Hula, in the 1920s. More than 5,000 of them lived in the region at the time, but they ended up paying a high price due to the draining of swamps.Credit: Yaakov Ben Dov/KKL
Shany Littman
Shany Littman
Shany Littman
Shany Littman

“This is a festive day for the black goats,” declared MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) in a short speech he delivered in the Knesset on May 7, 2018. “At last, equality for goats,” he continued, unable to suppress a smile. “The black goat is ‘kosher,’ and can be bred without restrictions, just like the white goat. The Black Goat Law is revoked.”

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