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Hail the hoopoe, the national bird of Israel

June 4, 2008 |  4:31 pm

Israels_national_bird_2Defining "Israeliness" is rarely easy, but most Israelis share a love of nature. This year Israel chose its favorite tree (olive) and favorite flower (Persian cyclamen, Rakefet in Hebrew).

Now Israel has selected a national bird. The six-month campaign, tied to Israel's 60th anniversary, was led by the SPNI (the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel) with government support and brought together kindergartners, legislators and even diplomatic missions abroad. Read more about it on The Times' Babylon & Beyond blog:

"The hoopoe, with its distinctive crest, is no newcomer to the land. It was mentioned in the Bible, its name is derived from Aramaic and it is said to have carried King Solomon's invitation to the Queen of Sheba across the ancient lands. Appropriately, Ethiopian Jewry called it the Moses bird, hoping it would lead them to Zion. Some of its habits may be questionable, but without doubt it is a pretty and special bird."

Photo: Ofir Lotan

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