Photo Credit: courtesy, Beit El Children's Zoo
Jacob Sheep noshing at Havat Ephraim, the Beit El Children's Zoo.

Two rams of the heirloom breed of sheep called Jacob Sheep arrived at the Beit El Children’s Zoo — “Havat Ephraim” — earlier this month.

The rare specimens arrived at the Children’s Zoo one day before the anniversary of the passing of both the biblical matriarch Rachel (1553 BCE) and of Methuselah (2105 BCE), the longest-lived human being of all time.


In fact, Rachel is the first shepherd mentioned in the Torah who cared for the flock. The anniversary of her passing fell this year on the Sabbath.

The rare sheep are famous for the mystique of their historic journey, and in recent centuries were named for the biblical patriarch Jacob who bred sheep that were speckled and striped.

The species, Ovis Aries, most commonly has four horns. Jacob Sheep breeders around the world advocate for preservation of the genetic biodiversity of the livestock, contributing to global food security.

“We are happy to provide an opportunity for fans of the heritage livestock to visit the Jacob Sheep,” zoo spokesperson Tuvia Victor announced.

“In the place where Jacob slept and dreamed of angels ascending and descending Heaven on a ladder, we are happy to be the home to Jacob Sheep!” he added.

The zoo, where animals of all kinds are raised, serves as an informal learning environment near Jerusalem that is open to the public.

Beit El is situated along the Path of The Patriarchs, the road by which Jacob returned to the land of his heritage, with his new flock and family.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.