The astonishing revival of Israel’s Persian fallow deer

Reposted from Israel 21c
https://www.israel21c.org/the-astonishing-revival-of-israels-persian-fallow-deer/

A nearly extinct species is slowly reintroduced into the wild, where they play a key role in the natural ecosystem.

By Naama Barak  OCTOBER 15, 2020, 7:00 AMPersian fallow deer are reintroduced to Israel after previously disappearing from it in the late 19th century. Photo by Dotan Rotem/INPA

Once upon a time, Persian fallow deer roamed freely across the Land of Israel. But by the end of the 19th century, rampant poaching led them to disappear from the local landscape. A few decades later they also vanished from their habitat in Iran, leading experts to believe they were extinct.

Then, in the 1950s, a small herd was discovered in southwestern Iran, and a few deer were transported to a zoo in Germany to be bred. A couple of decades later, two deer couples were brought to Israel, together with six female deer on the last flight from Tehran to Tel Aviv at the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution.UNCOVER ISRAEL – Get the ISRAEL21c
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One of the males from Germany didn’t survive, but the rest did, laying the foundation to what is today a population of between 200 and 250 Persian fallow deer that can once again call Israel home.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nipt9Lo-71I?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&autohide=1&showinfo=0

The deer were bred in the Hai-Bar Carmel Nature Reserve, and in 1996 the Israel Nature and Parks Authority began reintroducing some of them to their natural surroundings.

The big question, however, was what exactly these surroundings were.

“There was a difficult deliberation,” recounts Dr. Amit Dolev, head ecologist of the northern region in the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Back in the day, the deer in Israel lived in groves scattered across the land. In Iran, they were found in a desert area bordering a river. The experts eventually decided to settle the deer in a grove that could be supervised and that had a steadily flowing river nearby.

They chose the area of Kziv River in the Western Galilee in the north of the country.

“They went for the safest bet,” Dolev explains. “Today, 24 years later, the population is there. For the past decade or decade and a half, there’s been a reintroduction of more and more individuals from the breeding stock, 10 or more individuals every year.”A few deer brought over from a zoo in Germany and from Iran lay the foundation for today’s Israeli population. Photo by Doron Nissim/INPA

Human and wolf threats

In recent years, deer were also reintroduced to the Carmel region and the Sorek area near Jerusalem. They are still considered a critically endangered species.

The deer’s conservation success is reminiscent of that of the local ibex, which famously can be spotted around Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea.

Ibex were also in danger of extinction due to poaching, but a law passed in 1955 to protect wildlife greatly helped their numbers grow again. They are still not 100 percent safe, and nowadays the main danger they face is interaction with humans: they wander into communities where they get tangled in barbed wire or hurt by dogs, and are also harmed by visitors feeding them inappropriate food or garbage.

The INPA uses on-site cameras, tracking collars on some of deer and dung surveys to learn more about the freely roaming deer. According to a 2018-2019 survey of the deer reintroduced to the Western Galilee, the biggest threat was wolves.

Another difficulty facing the deer is roads. They can be killed in traffic or unable to expand their habitat because of roads blocking their movement.A few deer brought over from a zoo in Germany and from Iran lay the foundation for today’s Israeli population. Photo by Doron Nissim/INPA

An ecological role

And yet, the efforts to reintroduce the deer to their ancestors’ habitat are ongoing.

“Beyond the desire to look after a special and beautiful animal, it has an ecological role,” Dolev explains. “It’s a wild animal that eats plants, and this process has great importance in the food chain.”

And, he adds, “It’s the only animal that naturally knows how to open up groves in areas that goats, sheep and cows don’t reach.”

Upcoming plans for the deer include reintroducing more individuals into the wild.

“We continue to reintroduce every year, and I expect that this upcoming winter we’ll reintroduce more Persian fallow deer, both female and male, to the Upper Galilee, the Carmel and Sorek,” Dolev says.

The goal, he says, is to establish a stable wild population and to use the example of the Persian fallow deer to highlight the importance of nature conservation.

Naama Barak

Naama Barak is a writer at ISRAEL21c. A PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, she loves all things history and politics. Food and fashion come a close second. Prior to joining ISRAEL21c, Naama worked for Israel’s leading English-language dailies and cutting-edge startups.

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Anat Fort’s Story

From a blog article published by Yotam Ziv on the Israeli newspaper Haaretz website March 28, 2019. (The article was translated and edited) Disclosure: I am a big fan of Anat Fort! See links to other Israeli jazz artists at the bottom of this post.

Anat Fort and her ensemble
Anat Fort and her band

After 20 years of relentless and uncompromised persistence, Anat Fort became the first Israeli to be signed on the prestigious ECM jazz label. Her story is a story of great passion and Israeli daring . In an interview on the occasion of the release of a new album, she talks about being a female jazz artist in an almost-exclusively male field. “There’s something very cool about feminine energy that is sometimes lacking”, she said, “something that inspires young musicians,”

“We have about 10 percent of female students at our Stricker Conservatory, about the same as when I was a student there.

Women are ready and want to enter the field just like men do, if it were not for the discriminatory ‘bullshit’ that they have to endure.

What do you mean?

“Our trio played a double performance for a German radio station, together with another all-male band. We all sat in the bar where I was the only woman, as usual. One of the men from the other band sat next to me. He saw us play beforehand and knew that I was the band leader on my side. ‘What cool pantyhoses’, he asked me, ‘where did you buy them? Maybe I’ll buy the same for my group.’

“It’s like some of the BS in jazz that demeans women”, Fort said, “it’s like testosterone that rules the world, the solos have a lot of show-off, which is an essentially masculine trait, and I’m less connected to that, and there is a lot of gender talk among musicians, even I am culpable of that! It’s a fact that there are almost no successful instrumental women in this field”.

But hopefully, that may be changing for the better as more successful models are emerging. ”

Fort, 49, began playing at the age of five and asked to join a military band while serving in the Israeli Army. “Towards the end of high school, I realized that my classical music studies were going downhill, and I looked for other musical avenues.” I applied for the Army bands. When I entered audition room, Yoni Rechter, one of the judges, asked me if I knew how to play chords… John Coltrane, I was in shock, I never heard such music before!”

After release from the Army, Fort traveled to the United States to try to get into a jazz school that had never accepted foreign students before. She was not deterred. She asked for an audition, persevered and was eventually accepted. That is when she started to learn what it feels like to be a woman in a man’s world. “My first job after school was to accompany actors at the Lee Strasberg school,” she recalls. “Because of my versatility as a pianist – classical, jazz, cabaret and musicals – I was able to survive in New York, meet people in my field and play jazz, sometimes two or three gigs each night. I swallowed all the jazz that New York had to offer.

The opportunity for Fort to play her own compositions came when she met singer-composer Vered Dekel. “My relationship with her inspired me, and Vered wrote a lot of original music which was very significant to me, In 1999, I recorded my first album, alone, independently, real indie, which was also arund the time when when musicians started to record without the backing of a record label .”

Paul Motian – A class about my music at his house

The album was passport to exposure and performances of sorts. But a significant leap came after a musical encounter with Paul Motian, one of the greatest jazz drummers and a former member of the Bill Evans’ partner trio, one of the best jazz bands of all time. “I went to hear him wherever he played and eventually I found myself playing with bassist Ed Schuler who knew him. I approached Ed with my typical Israeli hutzpah and asked him what I needed to do to play with Paul Motian. Paul agreed to hear my music. He said he really liked it and might record my stuff. I almost fainted with my jaw wide open! A class about my music at Paul Motian’s place?! “

Motian did not record Anat’s music in the end, but refered her to Manfred Eicher, manager of the ECM jazz label. “Even then it took another three years for the ECM album to come out, which is one of the reasons why it was called” Long Story, “says Fort,” Eicher did not accept material that he was not involved in. I felt responsible for being the first Israeli to be signed on this special label. This gave me tremendous exposure to new markets, and it opened up the Whole World to me where people started to buy my albums, it was a breakthrough in every way. “

About 10 years later, Anat went back to Israel, and it seems that her return has only done her good. She continues to teach, record and perform non-stop. Her compositions have been celebrated for 20 years now. Although members of her trio its have split geographically, Fort in Israel, drummer Ronald Schneid to Germany and bassist Gary Wang in New York where he remained. This makes producing music a bit more complicated, but here (in Israel), a new album – Color – is about to come out and a tour around the country is about to start…

More fun stuff about Anat Fort

Listen to NPR’s Anat Fort’s ‘Long Story’ from New York

Listen to NPR’s Why Are So Many Jazz Musicians From Israel These Days?

Listen to NPR’s Anat Fort On Piano Jazz on
MARIAN MCPARTLAND’S PIANO JAZZ

Read my blog post about 33 great Israeli Jazz Artists

Please like my post if you enjoyed it 🙂

33 Great Israeli Jazz Artists…

For a country of some 7.5 million, Israel has a surprisingly large jazz footprint. More and more internationally acclaimed jazz musicians happen to be from the country. [NPR]  Twenty-five or so years ago, the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts based in Giv’atayim, like many arts magnet schools, became known as a jazz incubator. The Rimon School for Jazz and Contemporary Music started up in 1985, and developed an affiliation with Berklee College of Music in Boston.  Well known U.S. jazz musician Arnie moved to Israel in 1997, where he founded the International Center for Creative Music, an education facility open to both Jewish and Arab students.

A bit of research went into this post.  Click on each artist’s name to play a YouTube sample featuring that artist.  See full length clips in the comment section below. Feel free to add your own.  Enjoy!

 Artist
(Click for music)
———————– Quick Bio
Omer Avital omer avital Omer Avital was born in 1971 in Givatayim to Moroccan and Yemeni parents.  After spending a year in the Israeli Army Orchestra, he moved to New York in 1992 where he began playing, recording and touring professionally.
Or Bareket Or Bareket Or Bareket grew up in Argentina and Israel, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Or was the 1st Prize winner of the 2011 International Society of Bassists’ Jazz Competition. He has worked with Ari Hoenig, Jean-Michel Pilc, The 3 Cohens, Don Friedman, Eliot Zigmund, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, David Feldman and many others.
Roni Ben-Hur roni benhur Roni Ben-Hur is an Israeli jazz guitarist who emigrated to the United States in 1985. His parents were originally from Tunisia. His 2004 book, Talk Jazz: Guitar from the Mel Bay Talk Jazz series is now out of print and much sought after by jazz guitarists.
Dekel Bor dekel bor Dekel Bor started playing guitar at age 15 and moved to Copenhagen at the age of 19. At 21, Bor moved to New York to attend The New School on a full scholarship. Bor was seriously injured[1] in a motorcycle accident in August 2015. All of his scheduled performances and appearances were canceled or postponed at that time, at least until spring 2016.
Amir Bresler amir bresler Amir Bresler was born in Rishon-Letzion, Israel on November 8th, 1989. He started his musical education at the age of 13, spending three years with teacher Avi Zehavi and has since studied with Eitan Itzkovitch, and others. In 2010 Amir Joined the world renowned bass player, singer and composer Avishai Cohen, in concerts globally.
Anat Cohen anat cohen In 1996, Anat Cohen studied clarinet and saxophone at the Berklee College of Music. She has also recorded with her brothers Avishai Cohen (trumpeter) and Yuval Cohen (alto and soprano saxophonist). She was voted Clarinetist of the Year in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 by the Jazz Journalists Association
Avishai Cohen (Bassist) avishai cohen b One of the better known Israeli jazz artists, Avishai Cohen was born in 1970 in Kibbutz Kabri. He began playing the piano at 9 years old, but changed to the bass guitar at the age of 14. He eventually moved to New York, and in 1996, joined the Chick Corea sextet Origin. He currently performs with his own group, the Avishai Cohen Trio.
 Avishai Cohen (Trumpet) avishai cohen t Cohen was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. He grew up in a musical family with sister Anat and brother. At the age of eight, he asked his mother for trumpet lessons. As a Teenager Avishai Toured with The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra.  Avishai went to the Berklee jazz school in Boston and now lives in New York.
Eli Degibri Eli Degibri Eli Degibri was born in 1978 in Yaffo.  Degibri first began playing the mandolin at age 7. In 1994, then 1997, Degibri was selected to receive a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music and moved to the U.S.  On August 29, 2013, he released his sixth album, Twelve, featuring Gadi Lehavi, Ofri Nehemya, and Barak Mori.
Daniel Dor Daniel Dor Daniel was born 1986 in Tel-Aviv. While Daniel’s first musical lessons were at the piano, he was fascinated with the drum-set from an early age and began taking private lessons at the age of 10. Daniel’s work is featured on Avishai Cohen’s highly acclaimed new record “From Darkness.”
Shauli Einav Shauli Einav Shauli was born in 1982 in the countryside of Israel and started playing the violin at the age of 4. At 13 he switched to the saxophone and started playing with many Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv based bands. Einav recently relocated to Paris after 7 fruitful years in the vibrant jazz scene of NYC.
Oran Etkin Oran Etkin At age 14, Etkin began his musical studies in Boston with the saxophone. He studied Arabic music in Jerusalem. His exposure to Malian music is also a significant influence, having played in Mali with Toumani Diabaté, Super Rail Band, and Habibe Koité.
Anat Fort Anat Fort Anat Fort was born in 1970 near Tel Aviv. She is an Israeli jazz, pianist and composer who has recorded several acclaimed albums and performed across Europe and the United States.  She moved to New York in 1996 to develop her skills in jazz improvisation under the guidance of pianist Paul Bley and study composition with Harold Seletsky. 
See the brand new March 2019 post on Anat’s Story
Aaron Goldberg Aaron Goldberg Aaron Goldberg was born in Boston. He began taking piano lessons at 7, and started playing jazz when he was 14. In November 2014, Goldberg released The Now, a 10-song album of his own compositions, jazz standards, and reworkings of Brazilian songs.
Gilad Hekselman Gilad Hekselman Gilad is the winner of the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition. He has played all major jazz clubs in New York City including the Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Dizzy’s Club and Smalls.
Tamir Hendelman Tamir Hendelman Tamir moved to the US at age 12 in 1984, winning Yamaha’s national keyboard competition 2 years later at age 14. Concerts in Japan and the Kennedy Center followed.   In his own trio, he explores standards, Brazilian music, blues and his Israeli roots.
Nitai Hershkovits Nitai Hershkovits Born in Israel to a Morrocan mother and a Polish father, Nitai started playing the clarinet at age 12, only to discover his love for the piano at age 15.  Nitai has been collaborating with internationally acclaimed bassist and composer Avishai Cohen.
Yaron Herman Yaron Herman Yaron Herman was born in Tel Aviv. He moved to Boston, where he intended to attend the Berklee College of Music but rapidly preferred to start his career in Paris.
See my post on Herman’s cover of “Lu Yehi” 
Ori Kaplan Ori Kaplan Ori Kaplan is a jazz saxophonist and a music producer who moved from Israel to the United States in 1991.  In 2004 he formed Balkan Beat Box with Tamir Muskat. The band has been touring globally since and has released 4 albums thus far.
Assaf Kehati Assaf Kehati Jazz guitarist and composer Assaf Kehati arrived to the USA from Israel in 2007.  Mr. Kehati has performed at some of the world’s leading venues including the Blue Note; the DC Jazz Festival; MuzEnergo Jazz Festival, Tel Aviv Museum, Barranquilla Jazz Festival; and Toronto Jazz Festival.
Avi Lebovich Avi Lebovich
Avi Lebovich was born in Yahud, Israel and began studying classical piano at age 9. When he reached 13, he switched to the trombone and attended the “Thelma Yellin School of Arts”.  He moved to New York in 1992, where he attended “New School University” and “Mannes College of Music”.
Shai Maestro Shai Maestro

Pianist Shai Maestro was born in Israel on February 5th 1987. He began playing classical piano at the age of 5. Maestro joined Avishai Cohen’s Trio together with drummer Mark Guiliana where he played for 5 years around the globe.  In 2011, Maestro left Cohen’s group to pursue his own career as a band leader.

2015  YouTube: Shai Maestro Trio w. Kurt Rosenwinkel & Avishai Cohen (trp) – Treelogy (Maestro)

Rafi Malkiel Rafi Malkiel Born in Jerusalem in 1972, Malkiel currently resides in New York where he has established himself as a mainstay on that city’s jazz and Latin music.  Malkiel’s critically acclaimed debut album “My Island” features original compositions and his arrangements of popular Latin and jazz classics.
Dan Mayo Dan Mayo Dan Mayo was born in Israel in 1990. He is a drummer, composer and educator well known for his playing and composing with TATRAN, a power-trio with Tamuz Dekel on guitar and Offir Benjaminov on the bass.
Omri Mor Omri Mor Omri Mor was born in 1983 and raised in Jerusalem. He studied classical music at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music. He studied Andalousian-style music with Nino “Elmaghribi” Biton.  He plays regularly in jazz festivals in Israel and abroad.
Ziv Ravitz Ziv Ravitz Ziv Ravitz was born in Beersheba and focused on percussion at the ripe old age of 13.  He lives and works in New York, and recently released the album Everyday with Yaron Herman.
Issi Rozen Issi Rozen Issi Rozen is an Israeli-born jazz guitarist currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts. He has been recognized for mixing traditional middle-eastern and straight jazz elements into his music. In 2002, Rozen began teaching guitar and music theory at Berklee College of Music.
Harold Rubin Harold Rubin Harold Rubin is a South African-born Israeli visual artist and free jazz clarinettist.  He moved to Israel in 1962. Rubin returned to playing jazz in late 1979, having previously given up performance for more than a decade after his emigration from Africa.
Yotam Silberstein Yotam Silberstein Tel Aviv native Yotam Silberstein began playing guitar at age 10. By the age of 21, Silberstein has won the coveted “Israeli Jazz Player of The Year.”  Yotam Silberstein moved to New York in 2005.   He has won the Sundance Time Warner award for film music.
Ofir Shwartz Ofir Shwartz Ofir Shwartz was born in Haifa. He is an Israeli award-winning jazz pianist, composer, arranger and producer.  He is one of the leading Israeli touring musicians.
Asaf Sirkis Asaf Sirkis Asaf was born in 1969 in Petah-Tikva, Israel. At the age of 12 Asaf began drum lessons, while also having a strong interest in playing electric bass. In October 1998, Asaf left Israel and settled in London in April 1999. He soon become part of the UK Jazz and world music scene.
Assif Tsahar Assif Tsahar Assif Tsahar was born in Israel in 1969. He is a tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist. He has lived in New York City since 1990.  He founded the label Hopscotch Records in 1999. In 2006 he opened the music club Levontin7 with Daniel Sarid in Tel Aviv.
Sam Yahel Sam Yahel

A Hammond B-3 specialist, keyboardist Sam Yahel is a progressive musician with a bent toward mixing expansive post-bop and cerebral organ trio funk . Since moving to New York City in 1990, Yahel has performed and recorded with a wide array of name musicians.  

One of my favorites Sam Yahel pieces

 

Trouble in Israel

West bank settlementA few days ago, the right-wing Israeli political organization “Im Tirtzu” published a slick video clip in which it accused by name four Israeli members of human rights organizations of being “moles” operated by foreign countries to sabotage Israel’s counter-terror efforts (The Times of Israel).  The NGO human rights organizations may receive grants from countries and individuals outside of Israel to promote peace and understanding, but that hardly makes them foreign moles.  In fact, Im Tirtzu, which supports settlements in the occupied West Bank and other Israeli right-wing organizations are themselves funded largely by right-wing U.S. (a foreign country) contributions (Haaretz).

The four individuals portrayed in the Im Tirtzu video work for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Breaking the Silence featuring Israeli soldiers testifying about malpractices and alleged crimes committed by IDF troops against Palestinians; the Center for Defense of the Individual, which represents Palestinians under Israeli occupation; and B’Tselem, which documents human rights abuses in the territories. (Haaretz)

By naming and showing their faces in the video clip, Im Tirtzu is endangering the lives of these four individuals, using hate speech and inciting their members and the public at large.  But that’s not it.  This is part of an overall campaign by the Israeli extreme right which includes proposed new laws, such as the “transparency law” directed against NGOs.  “These NGOs challenge the authority of the government that has been elected by the people,” said the author of the proposed “transparency law”.  This sounds like Russia, Uganda, China, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan or Burundi (The Washington Post), hardly a group of democratic and desirable countries…

There is trouble in Israel…  Tensions between secular, religious, Ashkenazi or Sephardi Jews are not new, but they are escalating to a point never seen before.  Racism, which led so many Jews to death chambers, is now a real problem in Israel as well. About 60,000 Africans have immigrated there since 2006, fleeing unrest in their home countries. In Israel, these migrants have faced intense racism and persecution by right-wing politicians and activists, and have been branded as “infiltrators”.

Israel is split between a secular, liberal, modern, and economically thriving half, living alongside an ultra-Orthodox, observant, nationalist, and poorer half.  Nearly 70 years after Israel’s independence, the country is debating the meaning of its very existence: is Israel a (religious) Jewish State or a modern country where Jews and Arabs live together?  Is Israel a refuge for the Jews or a country from which they radiate?   Is Israel Auschwitz or Sinai?

Auschwitz or Sinai?

hartman

Rabbi David Hartman

Where to start?  Perhaps with Rabbi David Hartman’s landmark 1992 essay “Auschwitz or Sinai?“.  What drives the Jewish people, and in particular, what drives their feelings towards Israel? In his essay, R. Hartman articulated the dichotomy between what he calls the Auschwitz model and the Sinai model.

The Auschwitz model suggests that a driver of Jewish feelings towards Israel is preservation of the Jewish People.  The state of Israel is there to ensure the perennial existence of our People.   Israel has become the refuge of the Jewish People, and consequently, any action required by the State of Israel to sustain and guarantee the existence of the Jewish People is warranted.  “Never again” is the refrain used by defenders of this  model.

The Sinai model, on the other hand, sees the role of Israel as fulfilling the covenant between God and the Jewish People at Sinai, namely to become a holy people by building a moral and just society.  This call for action is central to the Jewish DNA (more later on this) and to the religious and traditional system that has sustained the Jewish People over the years.   “Torah study is not a substitute for actual life”, says R. Hartman.  This is a purpose greater than establishing a country and a national identity.

Is preservation of the People as in the Auschwitz model a sufficient goal?  Can Sinai be attained from Diaspora, without a national identity, or is the State of Israel a necessary platform?