Northern Israel and especially the city of Nahariya is suffering from an infestation of jackals. Though jackals are fairly common in the Israeli wild, they rarely enter cities. The current wave includes attacks leaving at least nine people being treated in the last few days for bites. Jackals can carry rabies which is the major concern from their attacks. They live in proximity of human populations, feeding on food that is improperly disposed of. This is believed to be the cause of the current infestation and wave of attacks.
Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority said in a statement that the jackals behind the attacks are most likely infected with rabies, thus explaining their unusual behavior. Dan Alon, an ecologist at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, attributed the attacks to the sheer numbers of jackals in the country.
“The jackal population in Israel as a whole and in the north of the country, in particular, is very large, and it is a direct result of all the surplus food available to them,” said Alon.
Tannim (תנים)The jackal is mentioned roughly 14 times in the Bible. It is frequently used as a literary device to illustrate desolation, loneliness, and abandonment, with reference to its habit of living in the ruins of former cities and other areas abandoned by humans. Most biblical references associate jackals with desert ruins. For a city or nation to be made the haunt or lair of jackals is for it to be utterly destroyed. It is inaccurately called “wild dog” in several translations of the Bible.
In the Bible, their distinctive, nighttime wailing is described as being the model for mourning for the Temple.
Because of this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked! I will lament as sadly as the jackals Micah 1:8
More specifically, the image of jackals coming from the north to invade cities in Israel is precisely described by the prophet Jeremiah:
Hark, a noise! It is coming, A great commotion out of the north, That the towns of Yehuda may be made a desolation, A haunt of jackals. Jeremiah 10:22
This plague of jackals is even prophesied to arrive in Jerusalem.
I will turn Yerushalayim into rubble, Into dens for jackals; And I will make the towns of Yehuda A desolation without inhabitants. Jeremiah 9:11
In fact, a similar prophetic image of foxes roaming the Temple Mount, connected in Jewish tradition to the construction of the Third Temple, appeared in 2019.