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October 6, 2015 / 23 Tishri, 5776
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Peres Doesn’t Look a Gift Elephant in the Mouth

Even an elephant wants to give Peres a birthday gift. The President could have used his visit to the Jerusalem Zoo to talk about Noah, but he preferred to speak about –surprise – peace and co-existence.
An elephant at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo gives President a gift

An elephant at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo gives President a gift
Photo Credit: Mark Neiman: Office of the Preisident

A well-trained elephant at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo gave visiting President Shimon Peres a gift on Tuesday, using his trunk to place in the President’s hand a small package containing the key to Noah’s Ark.

President Peres was visiting the zoo on the occasion of its 20th anniversary in its location in southern Israel, behind the Malcha mall. He was accompanied by the Youth Movement organization, a group of Jews and Arabs who volunteer at the zoo to help out and save endangered species.

Peres was upbeat in a great message for children “to leave their homes, Facebooks and smartphones” during the summer vacation and come to the zoo to experience nature.

Except for mentioning that the zoo symbolizes the Bible, the President made no mention of Noah, who saved animals as well as his family from the Flood. Nor did he make any mention of Jewish dietary laws and the prohibition of cooking an animal in its mother’s milk. Nothing was heard about the mitzva of making sure the mother bird is not in the next when tlking the eggs.

True, it was an elephant and not a dove that gave Peres the gift, perhaps in honor of his never-ending 90th birthday, but he didn’t miss an opportunity to deliver another message about – what else? –  Peace.

Somehow, he worked in the zoo with peace, saying,“ The zoo symbolizes the Bible along with the values of peace and co-existence,” referring to the group of Arab and Jewish youth.

President Peres continued his visit by taking a ride with the children and feeding the elephants and parrots.

The parrot, of course, says one word – Shalom – which, lest the elephant forget, not only means “Shalom” and “hello” but also means “good-bye.”

It is not known if Peres got the the message.


About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.

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