An young couple is working to restore a particular breed of sheep that is believed to have been raised by the Biblical partriarch Jacob to Israel, Reuters reports.
The book of Genesis (30:32) states that Jacob received speckled and spotted sheep as payment from his father-in-law Laban.
According to Modern Farmer, only about 5,000 Jacob sheep exist in the world. The breed has a distinctive look due to its four horns: two large and curved ones on the top of the head and another two smaller ones on the sides of the face. It's often described as resembling a goat, which can be explained by the purebred status and the absence of interbreeding with other sheep for thousands of years.
Jenna and Gil Lewinsky, an Israeli couple currently living in Canada, have been working for almost a year to import 130 of the “Jacob sheep,” but they have been hindered bureaucratic roadblocks.
Although the breed originated in the Land of Israel, the Ministry of Agriculture the import of livestock from Canada. Fortunately, the Israeli embassy in Canada offered its “strong recommendations” and encouraged Canadian officials to travel to Israel and meet with people from the Ministry, after which the ban was adjusted.
As the project gained steam, more Israeli officials took interest. Jenna Lewinsky says that Israeli ambassador to Canada Rafael Barak visited their British Columbia farm and even got to witness a lamb being born.
“It should be the national animal of the Jewish people,” she says. “It would be a very important and historic moment when the sheep return after basically 2,000 years.”
The Lewinskies are waiting for the medical tests to conclude and expect to achieve their goals sometime this year. They hope that the sheep, which will live on a farm in the Golan Heights, would provide educational opportunities and draw interest to the Biblical heritage.