Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
(Samuel 24, 2)
Ein Avdat National Park is one of the most beautiful sites in Israel. My first visit to the site was during my regular army service. One Saturday we stayed nearby and the duty officer organized a walking tour. We swam in the natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Entry into the water is prohibited today, but also without that – the area is breathtaking.
While walking from the parking lot to the waterfall we meet impressive variety of flora: Atriplex bushes, Retama raetam, Atlantic Pistachio tree of hundred years and more. The reserve is a home for dozens of mountain goats (Nubian ibex). To see them you must raise your eyes up toward the high cliffs.
The Ibex is able to walk at the edge of the cliffs - protecting itself from leopards and enjoying the shadow of the cliff. This Biblical animal was in great danger years ago but intensive efforts of the nature conservation teams in Israel led to a stable and strong community.
The Ibex was chosen to decorate the logo of the Nature Protection Association . Ibex can live up to 15 years.
The calving season is early spring and after five months of pregnancy new generation is being born. Usually there are one to two offspring. Immediately afterwards and during the summer - male and female live in separate herds. In the breeding season, males compete among themselves about their place in the hierarchy of the herd - sometimes in bitter infighting.
This impressive picture below was taken in 1965 by Uzi Paz in black and white and was later painted by Yuval Dvir.
The soft side of our story is a young wild goat.
I led a group of hikers in the canyon and I saw a young wild goat that looked pretty desperate and searched for his mother. I noticed her on the upper level - about five meters (15 feet) away but the cliff that separates the two could not be crossed.
The mother looked relaxed and confident.
Take two and a half minutes to view the young wild goat`s search for its mother ... (speakers please ... )
There is a surprising connection between our story and the Jewish holiday of Passover that start soon. For hundred of year – the Jews read at Passover eve the Haggadah ("telling" in Hebrew). This is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. Reading the Haggadah at the Seder table is a fulfillment of the Scriptural commandment to each Jew to "tell your son" of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus in the Torah. One of the most known songs in the Haggada is "Chad Gadya" which is Aramaic name of "one little goat".
The song is open to interpretation and according to some modern Jewish commentators, what appears to be a light-hearted song may be symbolic: about the different nations that have conquered the Land of Israel or symbolizes divine protection of the Jewish people.
Thanks to Uzi Paz for his assistance in preparing this post.