Wildlife of the Holy Land: The ibex roams Israel’s desert

i24NEWS

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A female ibex is seen in Israel's desert on April 13, 2013.
Chen Leopold/Flash90A female ibex is seen in Israel's desert on April 13, 2013.

'The ibex as an iconographic depiction reoccurs throughout the world on different artifacts'

The ibex, a wild goat which can be found in the desert landscape of southern Israel, has dwelled in the area and influenced its religious texts since ancient times.

References to the animal can be found in art from the region, and even in biblical psalms, where the ibex is used to illustrate the beauty of the surrounding environment.

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“In Psalm 104, which speaks about the beauty of [the] creation of the natural world, we have references to the ibexes on the hills,” Rabbi Dr. Natan Slifkin, founder and director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History, told i24NEWS.

Despite the extensive passage of time, Slifkin explained, the ibex still resides in the area.

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“This is a description [which was] written thousands of years ago, and still today, you can go to Ein Gedi and you can look at the ibex climbing the hills very easily,” he said.

Depictions of the goat can also be seen on rock art and ancient relics uncovered in a number of desert communities worldwide.

“The ibex as an iconographic depiction reoccurs throughout the world on different artifacts,” Nurith Goshen, the Israel Museum’s curator of Chalcolithic and Bronze Age periods, told i24NEWS.

“It's very fitting for a desert culture - where you can actually see ibexes all around you,” she said.

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