+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Zoological terrorism? Israelis up in arms over 'Palestine Gazelle'

A Facebook post livid at the fact that the Palestine Gazelle at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo is being listed as such has been making some waves on Israeli social media today. The status was posted by Israeli right-wing protofascist Yoav Eliassi, who goes by “The Shadow” (and was involved in violence against leftists protesting the Gaza war last summer in Tel Aviv).

The Shadow posted a photo of the sign at the zoo on his Facebook page and next to it the caption: “At the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo!!!!!!”  (By the way it says “Israeli Gazelle” in Hebrew and just “Palestinian” in Arabic).

Screenshot from The Shadow's Facebook status (April 27, 2015)

Screenshot from The Shadow’s Facebook status (April 27, 2015)

The kicker? “Palestine Gazelle” is the animal’s scientifically accurate name.

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo explained as much in a response on his Facebook page:

“That is the gazelle’s official scientific name, as accepted by the international community.” When we list the name of an animal we are obligated to list its name as it appears in the scientific literature. These are the accepted norms throughout the world, irrespective of politics. Let’s invest our positive energies in preserving Israel’s nature. That is where we can really have an impact!”

I don’t know what is sadder (or dumber): The fact that any human being would see a problem with this, or that the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo felt the need to respond to this idiocy.

This is truly a low point in Israeli society. An Israeli nationalist so filled with animosity that he is picking a bone with science, with history, spreading not only hate but stupidity. And a national zoo so concerned with the idea that Israelis  may begin boycotting it for using the word “Palestine” that it feels the need to respond. (The Facebook page has a bunch of comments calling The Shadow out for being a moron, but also many agreeing with him).

In some ways, this Facebook status perfectly captures the atmosphere in Israel of 2015. Next thing you know The Shadow will organize a protest at the Jerusalem Post offices for once being called the Palestine Post.  Or maybe the next government will propose a bill to ban utterance of the word “Palestine.”

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Danny

      I think you are making too much of this. After all, we are talking about a guy who calls himself “The Shadow”. He’s the type of person you wouldn’t really want to have a conversation with, much less an argument (he would likely reinforce most of his arguments with leftists with some help from his knuckles). He reminds me of those idiots in the U.S. who are convinced that Obama is a Muslim and deny he was born in the U.S. This cretin is not even deserving of mention.

      Reply to Comment
      • Davis

        sadly enough, you have so many cretins of his type here that bibi got elected again.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Katy Resident

      These racists are the same people who co-opt Palestinian food (hummus, couscous, etc…) and call it “Israeli.”

      Reply to Comment
    3. Joel


      The scientific name isn’t Palestine Gazelle, it’ Gazella gazella.

      Truth be told, in Taxonomy, animal names often change over time. For instance, the white-throated kingfisher, scientific name (Halcyon smyrnensis, was formerly known as the Smyrna kingfisher.

      A dumb story indeed.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Dutch Oven

      Such Luddites. Let’s read what your heroes are up to. Note the value for freedom of speech at the individual and academic levels:

      The arrest of Khalil Afaneh, a civil servant working for the Ministry of Endowments in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, was first reported by official news agency WAFA on Saturday, which explained in a laconic report that the cause for his arrest was “attacking and harming the martyr, eternal leader and symbol of the Palestinian people Abu Ammar (Arafat).” It did not explain where or when the crime had taken

      The full story was later revealed by independent Palestinian news agency Donia al-Watan. Namir Moghrabi, a student at Birzeit University near Ramallah, had commented on Facebook on the results of the student union elections last week, in which Hamas achieved a decisive victory. The reason Fatah lost, she wrote, was that they named their bloc “Martyr Yasser Arafat,” when in fact the deceased leader was no martyr at all.

      “When a student lifts the ballot to elect the student bloc and sees the words ‘Yasser Arafat’ preceded by the word ‘martyr,’ he is shocked; he refuses to affirm a phrase that equates between our real martyrs and Yasser Arafat,” Moghrabi wrote. Her uncle, Afaneh, supported her comments and was subsequently summoned by Palestinian intelligence.

      According to the article in Donia al-Watan, Moghrabi was also sanctioned for her comments. Sources close to the university’s administration told the news site that she would be expelled, and a letter issued by the ministry of education would ban her acceptance to any other Palestinian university.

      This would not be the first time in recent months that West Bank Palestinians are silenced for crossing the line of political correctness. In February, a cartoon supposedly depicting the Prophet Mohammed was removed from the website of official Palestinian daily al-Hayat al-Jadidah, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordering an inquiry

      Reply to Comment
    5. Frlix

      So pathetic news…
      How can you use media wall to say that you know nothing about the middle east?!…
      It’s terrible…

      Reply to Comment