The case for bringing Jacob sheep to Israel

July 22, 2015 23:02
3 minute read.
Jacob Sheep

Jacob Sheep. (photo credit: FRIENDS OF THE JACOB SHEEP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


“A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.”

– Edmund Burke

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

The recent outright refusal of the Agricultural and Rural Development Ministry to take in the biblical Jacob sheep from Canada to preserve in Israel’s north robbed the whole nation of Israel of the opportunity to become acquainted with the sheep that our Patriach Jacob fathered. The Jacob sheep is the national animal of the Jewish people and currently doesn’t exist in Israel.

In the book of Genesis, the Jacob sheep were created by Jacob when he took the existing flock of Laban’s spotted and speckled sheep, and, in one of the world’s earliest examples of selective breeding, bred them with white poplar rods to always produce spotted and speckled offspring. 

See the latest opinion pieces on our Opinion & Blogs Facebook page
The sheep accompanied Jacob and his 12 sons to Egypt, where their blood was used on the door posts in the Passover story.

After the Jewish exiles the sheep lost contact with their Jewish owners and have endured their own exile over the ages until the present day.

Friends of the Jacob Sheep was created to conserve the last of the original, endangered and unaltered Jacob sheep and to return them to their original owners, the Jewish nation in the land of Israel. While other sheep breeds exist in Israel, only one was given to the Jewish people specifically; Jacob earned them as wages from Laban.

They are thus part of the Jewish heritage.


The Jacob sheep are unlikely to have health problems or suffer from diseases because they have not been interbred with other breeds and have been kept separate to preserve their heirloom traits. The current flock in Abbotsford, British Columbia, comes from an agricultural region that does not have any known sheep diseases. In addition, the breed is known to be hardy and disease resistant and also does not carry foot diseases. The facilities and agricultural standards in Canada are world class and disease prevention is of top-notch standards.

The establishment of a heritage park in the Golan Heights will ensure that the future of the ancient breed of Jacob sheep is secure for future generations. It’s a Jewish value to shepherd and to preserve endangered animals from extinction.

The historic opportunity for the Jacob sheep to return to Israel is now and we cannot afford to miss it, because the whole land of Israel is going through restoration and revival. If we do not fight for the opportunity to conserve the national animal of the Jewish people, the next generation will be building a museum in their honor in Tel Aviv. We need strong leaders who will do the right thing and allow the sheep to be imported. The flock of Jacob sheep is no risk but only a blessing to Israel.

We would like to appeal to Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel to please help the Jacob sheep make aliya and bring them home where they belong.

Gil Lewinsky is a director of Friends of the Jacob Sheep. He has a masters in global affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs of the University of Toronto and has been a past writer and contributor to The Jerusalem Post.

Jenna Lewinsky is also a director of Friends of the Jacob Sheep. She is a former South African Jewish leader of TaMaR and an Israel Government Fellow who interned at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

November 20, 2018
November 21, 2018: Airheads at Airbnb