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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Researchers: Israel’s Wild Pigs Came from Europe

In a country where the two main religions, Judaism and Islam, both forbid its consumption, researchers say that Israel’s feral pig population was originally European, likely arriving with the Philistines more than 3,000 years ago.

A new study in the journal Scientific Reports that was based on the DNA of modern and ancient feral pigs, also known as boar, revealed that European emigrant pigs became prominent during the Iron Age, circa 900 BCE, eventually overtaking the entire pig population in what is known as Israel today. This differs from boar in nearby countries, which are all Middle Eastern.

Tel Aviv University Professor Israel Finkelstein, one of the lead researchers, speculated that tensions between the ancient Israelites and the Philistines, depicted in biblical stories such as David versus Goliath, may have led the Israelites to reject pork consumption in an “us versus them” mentality.

“They eat pork, and we don’t,” Finkelstein told the New York Times.

Appearing at the beginning of the Iron Age and settling near modern day Gaza, the origins of the Philistines has long been a mystery. There is limited evidence to suggest they are a non-Semitic people, perhaps originating near Greece or Asia Minor.

Researchers also believe that further European intervention in the region, such as with the Romans or Crusaders, could have contributed to the further the “Europeanization” of Israel’s pigs.

About the Author: www.JNS.org is an independent, non-profit business resource and wire service covering Jewish news and Israel news for Jewish media throughout the English-speaking world.


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4 Responses to “Researchers: Israel’s Wild Pigs Came from Europe”

  1. Close but no cigar! We don't eat pigs (pork) because it smells and taste just like human flesh…our ancient enemy would sacrifice and roast their own children before their iron and clay 'g-ds' giving a whole new meaning to the term and concept; "baby back ribs" so popular in USA today.(lest you doubt me, the Polynesian cannabals (sp) referred to human flesh as "long pig")

  2. Closer but still no cigar. We dont eat pig because its says so in our Torah.

  3. How do you know?, did you taste human flesh?

  4. Our wonderful Torah formalizes the prohibition, and the 'sausage' of making the prohibition is as I stated below. A dear friend of mine, Gasan Hdad, an Arab Christian, once told me that his family owns, (owned ?) the only pig farm in Israel, grandfathered in after the 1967 war…they do a land office business. In ancient times pigs were herded through crop lands to clear them of snakes and noxious weeds, a practice that would be required today were in not for chemicals. The 'pork' products from this were fed to slaves and war dogs, grease for cart and chariot wheels, etc. (so, Torah is king, and sausage is sausage…where's my cigar?)

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