Zionist Death Hooters

Ohhh behave

Despite the above caption, this is really a photo of a Zionist Death Hooter imprisoning an unsuspecting palestinian

An ornithologist in Israel has overcome superstitions to help owls settle in Arab villages in the lower Galilee.

Samah Darawshe says owls are a “natural enemy” to rodents, and a nature-friendly alternative to dangerous chemical pesticides which harm the environment and water reservoirs. A pair of owls can eat between 2,000 and 6,000 rodents a year, he says.

A local initiative started in a kibbutz in 1983 to use owls as pest control transformed into a national project, and spread to the West Bank and Jordan. But the project, setting up nest boxes to encourage owls to settle, failed to take off in Palestinian-populated areas of Israel

Darawshe says Palestinian farmers in Israel were reluctant to let owls nest on their land over long-held superstitions that the birds brought bad luck.

“It was my dream to establish the project in the Arab sector,” he said.

“Owls need a place to rest, and nature lacks these places,” explained Dawashe, who works for the Israeli Ornithology Center.

“By fixing nest boxes we attract owls to the areas we are interested in.”

But first, he had to deal with the superstitions. His efforts began in 2009.

“Some people thought it was related to religion. When I started, I did some digging and I found it is the opposite.”

Muslim holy books prohibit superstition, and there is a Hadith which specifically says that owls should not be feared, he explains.

“This was one of the key things for me to persuade people that owls aren’t bad.”

Yossi Leshem, the director of the project in Israel, started the initiative in 1983 with just 14 nest boxes in a communal farm. Today, 2,600 nest boxes have been put up, Leshem says.

Through partnerships with the Amman Center for Peace and Development and the Palestinian Wildlife Society, and with international funding, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel has extended the project to Jordan and the West Bank.

The Israeli society has organized seminars, funded by the Regional Development Ministry, to explain the benefits of barn owls to farmers, even setting up webcams on the nest boxes to demonstrate the effectiveness of the birds as rodent killers.

Palestinian farmers from the West Bank joined seminars in Palestinian communities inside Israel to share their successes and explain the system, Lesham explained.

So far, the project has been a great success. Palestinian farmers have put up more than 100 nest boxes in Israel, funded by the Regional Development Ministry.

Darawshe says eight pairs of owls are nesting and some have even started breeding.

“It takes a few years for owls to get accustomed to the process,” Darawshe explained.

The project will be showcased at a Tel Aviv conference on regional economic cooperation in September.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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