Current Page: World | Wednesday, March 02, 2016
Biblical Spotted Sheep in Jacob Story With 2000 Year History to Return to Israel

Biblical Spotted Sheep in Jacob Story With 2000 Year History to Return to Israel

A herd of sheep graze on a pasture in the town of Al Wazzani, near the Lebanese-Israeli border, in southern Lebanon January 5, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Aziz Taher)

A breed of sheep believed to have been raised by the Bible's Jacob are set to be sent to Israel in the coming months.

The 130 rare sheep are expected to be imported to Israel from Canada after years of back and forth between the two countries regarding export laws, breeders Jenna and Gil Lewinsky told The Guardian.

The sheep are believed to be the same "speckled or spotted" breed belonging to Jacob in Genesis 30:32.

"Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages," the verse states, according to the New International Version.

Eitan Weiss, spokesperson for the Israeli embassy in Canada, told The Guardian that they were able to convince the Israeli government to accept the sheep following negotiations.

"And the ambassador visited Israel. He met some people with the ministry of agriculture and issued a letter," Weiss told the media outlet. "The idea was very, very nice and of course we said, 'Let's push it.'"

Weiss and the Lewinskys are attempting to have the sheep transported back to Israel so they may be in their historic birthplace.

Jenna Lewinsky added to The Guardian that the sheep are expected to be used for historical and educational purposes upon their return to Israel.

As The Modern Farmer reported in July 2015, the Lewinskys have been campaigning for years to have the rare sheep breed transported to Israel, where they plan to open a park in Golan Heights so people may visit and learn the biblical importance of the sheep breed.

"We wish to open a Heritage Park for the Jacob Sheep in Israel. Yes, it will be a tourist attraction, but its primary focus is rather to conserve the breed of sheep and to bring it back to its original use," Gil Lewinsky told Breaking Israel News last year. "There will be a woolery at the Heritage Park which will turn the raw wool (the sheep produce 5-6 pounds of it per sheep per year) into religious clothing such as tzizit (prayer fringes), shirts and prayer shawls. The horns can be crafted into shofars."

Along with being one of the oldest breeds in the world, Gil added that the Jacob sheep are "the only sheep breed in the world to produce spots and speckles in offspring."

The animals are rare, with only 5,000 left, and the North American variety is considered the most pureblooded after years of interbreeding.

The Lewinky couple, who are of Israeli and Canadian heritage, previously told The Jerusalem Post that the Jacob sheep serve as artifacts of ancient Israel dating back 2,000 years.

"The Jacob sheep have a very sad story because their numbers are dwindling in Canada," the couple said in a June 2015 interview. "Israel currently only has Awassi sheep, which originated in the Syrian-Arabian desert. The Jacob sheep are an artifact of ancient Israel and proves that the story of Jacob and Laban took place."