October 20, 2019
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been using the intermediary days of Sukkot (one more than in the diaspora) to tour the land, picnic and stare with awe at Ye'elim.
The Ya'el (Capra) is a wild mountain goat which can be found in Israel's Ein Gedi nature preserve (Gedi means a goat's kid) on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, above the Dead Sea coast, which covers an area of 3,500 acres.
These beautiful animals (kosher but protected) are known for their fearless treatment of near-vertical surfaces which they walk with ease (see video below). They also eat everything, especially trees and bushes, which is why they've been nothing but trouble since the days of the second Temple. If you raised goats, you were disqualified to give testimony in court, because someone who disregards the environment, according to our sages, can't be trusted.
But what beautiful troublemakers they are.
Israeli Ye'elim (Shlomit Shavit via Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
The Ya'el is mentioned in the Bible (Psalm 104:18) — "For the wild goats there are the high mountains, while the coneys find refuge in the rocks."
Israeli Ya'el outside Qumran Caves 2 (Shlomit Shavit via Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
And (Job 39:1) "Do you know when mountain goats give birth? Have you seen deer in labor?"
Israeli Ye'elim outside Qumran Caves 2 (Shlomit Shavit via Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
We couldn't find an Israeli video of the stunts the ye'elim of Ein Gedi do, climbing vertical riverbed walls with ease, but we did find this substitute: