Rare Sightings of ‘Messianic’ Orcas, Sharks and Dolphins Flocking to Israel’s Shores [Watch]

May 6, 2020

5 min read

Normally thought of as an arid country, water plays a major role in Biblical descriptions of the Messianic process leading the multitude of recent sightings of marine life to take on more than a simple scientific significance.This was especially noted by the Prophet Ezekiel.

And it shall come to pass that fishers shall stand by it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; there shall be a place for the spreading of nets; their fish shall be after their kinds as the fish of the Great Sea exceeding many. Ezekiel 47:10

The fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that move on the ground, and every human being on earth shall quake before Me. Mountains shall be overthrown, cliffs shall topple, and every wall shall crumble to the ground. Ezekiel 38:20



A pod of about 20 Bottlenose dolphins was spotted by marine inspectors from Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority off the coast of Ashkelon over the weekend. Though not exactly rare, the sighting was a welcome sight. The area is near a fishery and fishing equipment can harm dolphins, classified as an endangered species.

Over the last few years, there have been repeated sightings of large groups of 10-80 individuals of short-beaked common dolphins in Israeli waters.  The recent sightings occurred in the southern part of the region, and some were within the waters of Gaza. 

It is interesting to note that even though dolphins are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, some English Bibles translate the word תחש (tachash, the animal whose hide was used to cover the tabernacle) as a dolphin. No Jewish sources suggest that the tabernacle was covered in dolphin skin though manatees, another marine mammal, is native to the Red Sea and its Hebrew name is תחש המשקן (tachash hamishkan, the tachas of the tabernacle). 


A whale shark, the world’s largest fish, appeared off of the beach of Eilat on Sunday. 

Whale sharks are not entirely uncommon in the region.  Last summer four whale sharks were spotted off the coast of Eilat in six weeks. 

The whale shark is a slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish species. hey feed almost exclusively on plankton and small fishes, and pose no threat to humans. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 32 feet and weigh an average of 20,000 pounds when fully grown. They are believed to live between 80-130 years. Hundreds of whale sharks are illegally killed every year in China for their fins, skins, and oil. The species is considered endangered by the IUCN due to the impacts of fisheries 


About six weeks ago, in a rare event, a killer whale, also known as an orca, was spotted almost one mile off the coast of Israel between Haifa and Akhziv. The whale is likely the same one spotted earlier in the week off the coast of Lebanon.

The whale is believed to be the same that was observed in Lebanon the previous week. Identified by the unique markings on his head, the orca sighted in Israel is believed to have traveled all the way to the Meditteranean from Iceland. Researchers named the orca “Riptide” when he was first sighted in June 2018. 

Marie-Thérèse Mrusczok, head of Orca Guardians, an Icelandic group, was thrilled at his reappeance in Israel.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the longest known distance traveled of any killer whale to date, with over 8,000 km, just incredible!” Orca Guardians said in a statement.

There are concerns for the whale’s health as he looked emaciated, indicating he may not be able to feed properly in the Mediterranean.


Every winter a group of 20-30 dusky and sandbar sharks, referred to as a ‘frenzy,’ gather off the coast of Hadera. The sharks are becoming increasingly rare as the Mediterranean suffers from overfishing. Though this has been witnessed for several decades, scientists only began studying the phenomenon and collecting data two years ago.

Sandbar Sharks (photos courtesy of Dr. Aviad Sheinin)

Though unsure of the precise reason for the yearly appearance, researchers believe it is due to the Orot Rabin power plant located there. The effluence of hot water from the plant maintains the sea near the plant at ten degrees warmer than surrounding waters. Nonetheless, shark gatherings have not been observed in similar locations.

The sharks are becoming a tourist attraction. The Israel National Parks Authority is planning to open a shark observation center and information station at the beach to teach the public about the sharks, focusing on the importance of preserving them and their habitats. The information and shark observation station will be open to the public each Saturday from December 1 through April, except on rainy days, according to a report by Walla News.

The dusky shark is about 13 feet long, weighs about 770 lbs, and has slightly rounded fins. The sandbar sharks have smaller fins, weigh about 220 lbs and are about 8 feet long. Both species are at risk of extinction.


The Tikunei Zohar (Tinyanya Tikkun 43), an esoteric book attributed to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in the first century CE, explains that this increase of fish signifies a specific stage of the Messianic process, in which the Messiah from the House of Joseph and the Messiah of the house of David, two separate stages, join together.

The Messiah from the house of Joseph is a practical building up of the land that precedes a miraculous period, Messiah from the House of David, which includes the building of the Temple. The period ushered in by the appearance of fish is described as a period of hamtakat hadinim (sweetening of the judgements), symbolized by the fish’s ability to make seawater potable.


 Based on a prophecy in Zechariah, it is believed that in the days of the Messiah, a river will flow from Jerusalem down in two directions: eastward towards the Dead Sea and westward towards the Mediterranean.

And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Yerushalayim: half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be.” Zechariah 14:8

In Ezekiel, it is stated that these Messianic waters will cause the Dead Sea, currently devoid of life, to become teeming with fish.

And it shall come to pass that every living creature wherewith it swarmeth whithersoever the rivers shall come shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish.  Ezekiel 47:9

Last summer, Breaking Israel News reported on the appearance of marine life in brackish water ponds on the shores of the Dead Sea, in visible fulfillment of that prophecy.


The leviathan is referenced in the Bible in  Job 3:8, Job 40:15–41:26, Psalm 74:13–23, Psalm 104:26, and Isaiah 27:1.Though the word ‘leviathan’ in modern Hebrew refers to whales, marine mammals that subsist on plankton, the term originated as a formidable fish in Jewish mythology. A section of the Talmud (the Oral Law) describes the post-Messianic role of the Leviathan. In the Tractate of Baba Batra 75a, it is written that God originally produced a male and a female leviathan. God became concerned that in multiplying, the species would destroy the world. God killed the female leviathan, preserving her flesh for the special banquet that will be given to the righteous on the arrival of the Messiah. The banquet will be held inside a huge tent made from the Leviathan’s skin.

This midrash (homiletic teaching) is the source of an unusual blessing recited during the holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), in which we recite upon leaving the sukkah (tabernacle): “May it be your will, Lord our God and God of our forefathers, that just as I have fulfilled and dwelt in this sukkah, so may I merit in the coming year to dwell in the sukkah of the skin of Leviathan. Next year in Jerusalem.”





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