Rare Holy Land Butterfly Half Mile from the Border

Allancastria Cerisyri butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Hanita, Israel

The older I get, the more I marvel at how the world continues to see people who want to conquer, invade and rule over others. My father served, Infantry in World War II, and Jack Zablow A”H (Of Blessed Memory) told me he served so that I’d never have to. Sadly, I did, and had to.

This image of a rare, Protected butterfly, Allancastria Cerisyi speciosa is fondly remembered by me. I wanted to find and shoot them, and no one told where to find them. I scheduled my trip to Israel for April, and I used my Israeli butterfly field guide to guesstimate where they ‘ought’ to be. The morning I drive to Hanita, the town nearby, I roamed a bit, and . . . it was early, and I found them. maybe 30 of them, fresh, beautiful and active. I felt like Wow! finding a rare, protected HolyLand butterfly, a butterfly whose habitat is limited, a rare butterfly. That kind of happiness reduces me, momentarily, to feeling like a 15-year old boy who scores the winning jumpshot in that E. 56th Street, Brooklyn park basketball court! !-for Emphasis.

While I was scouring that area for this rare Parnassian (cousin to swallowtails), I sure kept in mind that the “Hot” border to Lebanon was just 1/2 mile away, and at that border, there were barbarian Hezbollah terrorists. That kind of heightened awareness itself reminded me of growing up, where I grew up. Thank G-d I too made it, eventually leaving those streets in one whole piece.