2019? Peace?

Cow photographed by Jeff Zablow on Mt. Hermon, Israel, 6/16/08

The memories stream back to me. We, Eran, my guide and I were on the peak of Mt. Hermon. Standing on the extreme northeastern border of Israel, Hermon has us looking into embattled Syria. You are seeing perhaps 180 miles of southern Syria. When was this image taken? June 2008. The cow was owned by Syrians, and it wandered to the peak of Hermon, 7,000 feet, to graze.

I was searching for butterflies, endangered ones. The views take your breathe away ones. Never to be forgotten. June it was there in Israel, and we hiked with temperatures in the mid-90’s. Eran was a huge man, and he carried liters of water for us, on that mountaintop. Few others were seen up there, and all the time we were under the surveillance of Israeli Army security.

That bovine and its 15 or so companions wandered up there, to I suppose, graze. The landmine Eran found, chastened me, and made me wonder how she manages to avoid them, or do they?

We sure found special, rare butterflies that day, drank drank drank, and managed to avoid other land mines.

Now, the farmers and Syrians who lived down there are all dead or gone, replaced by soldiers and spies and ISIS crazies from Iran, Russia, North Korea, the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, People Republic of China and other crazies. You see a pastoral landscape, but what actually followed was . . . a killing field. Men, women and children.

I’ve sought to return to this extraordinary mountain top since this day in June 2008. Each year I tried I was forbidden from going up there. The Israeli military control it, and they are ever diligent.

Did you stop back where I shared that the Syrians who lived there just a decade ago are all gone or dead? When I think of that, on this day that reminds us of so much, I have trouble grappling with what happened down there, less than a decade ago.

I was there for the butterflies, some 10 or so species found nowhere else in the world! What happened down there soon after, just stuns me. This mountaintop, back in 1967 was a bloody battleground. It now is the borderline between Israel and Syrian forces, Hezbollah forces, Russian forces, our own U.S. forces, North Korean advisors, ISIL savages, Pakistani advisors, Syrian ‘Rebel’ forces and who knows who else.

That region is gorgeous, rich in wildlife and desperately needs a rest, say 100 years of Peace?

Jeff

My Birthday Butterfly

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

My Fuji slide film (Velvia 50)? I love it, even as its price continues to climb. My eyes are so attended to the hundreds of hours that I spend in the bush. When I get my images back from Parsons, Kansas, the rich color pleases me, for it is 100% true to the real-time butterflies that I see.

Yes, tomorrow is my birthday, and it will be a quiet one. On the eve of B-day, I’ve decided to share an image taken in the HolyLand, at Mishmarot, Israel, north of Tel Aviv and 15 minutes from Caeseria, and the Mediterranean Sea.

This Plain Tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus chrysippus) is closely related to North America’s Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). This Israeli one is much more difficult to approach than our Monarch. Scoring the image was not easy, and closer approach was not to happen.

I often wonder how you entertain my frequent sharing of HolyLand butterflies? Me? I think of Who? and How? Th-y saw them back then, and truth be told, I am moved by that. But with my Birthday hours away, I am going to hope that . . .

Jeff

HolyLand Butterfly ID?

Hipparchia pisidice butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

We’re on Mt. Meron in the Upper Galilee Region. Jews, Christians and Muslims value this region, at the very northern edge of Israel today. Me? I’m finding butterflies the entire time up on Meron.

I’ve already met some of them, most of them. Every once in a while, I catch a fleeting glimpse of a butterfly I do not know. One I never met before.

This one, Sherlock Holmes, is one new to me. Israel’s field guides? They’re helpful, but they are mostly written in Hebrew, and they have years to go before they can be described as ‘Excellent.’

This one is grouped with the Satyrs, but it differs much from the images in Dubi Binyamini’s landmark field guide.

Israeli Butterflies flee on approach, most when you’re 10-15 feet away. That to anticipate your curiousity, ‘Why didn’t Jeff get closer?’

I hope that Yaron or Oz or Dubi will come along and help us here. What is this HolyLand satyr?

Jeff

Hermon Iris Revisited (Protected)

Hermon Iris (Protected) butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan, Israel

On March 28th, 2017 I fly El Al back to Israel. Regretably, you will not be sitting on either side of me. I pledge though to search for worthy images, like this one, enjoyed in 2013. to share with you when I return. This ’13 post evoked other memories for me: my youthful things for redheads with green eyes and . . . my time spent in the dressing room of the Rockettes! Butterflies & rare irises can do that to you, connect to extravagant beauty heretofore unthinkable.

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Hermon Iris photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan,  Israel

Don’t we all have memories that warm us up when they flash into our consciousness? This image of a Mt. Hermon Iris just did that for me. It brought back memories of a certain moment on a streetcorner in Manhattan (New York, NY), one morning on  campus in college, a stand of native Columbine I once had, and sooo much more. Oh, and then there were the magical minutes when as a college-poor messenger, I  was given a package to deliver to a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall…and instead of taking it from me, the Rockettes’ staff said, “Yeah, take it in there to her”…into the Rockettes’ dressing room I went…’Nuf said?

This was such an experience. On a trail is northernmost Golan,Israel, near the security fence insuring that Israel and Lebanon stay safely apart, we turned a corner of the trail, and there they were…Iris

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Israel Loves the USA

View from Ramat south to Hadera, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Coastal Plain, Israel

It’s independence Day here in America. I dived into my store of ready to post images, and came up with this one I captured in March 2016. It is a view of America’s really good friend, Israel.

The perch I was standing on was the hilly high ground of Ramat Hanadiv. At the ruins of an ancient farmstead (they built their homes and farm buildings of huge stones), we look southwest, toward the coastal city of Hadera. This is the Israel that Americans do not know. I don’t think the French, or the British, or the Italians much care one way or the other. The Americans, the Canadians and perhaps the Russians (perhaps) want Israel to prosper, do their high-tech thing and make it in their nasty neighborhood, surrounded as they are, and have always been, by nasty neighbors.

I’m there to enjoy my daughter and my grandsons and to find butterflies. I look at this image, and remember, the super lush green agricultural fields in the foreground, the suburbs in the mid-ground and the cities in the background. If you have not visited the HolyLand yet, then you are missing this visual of Israel. Successful, striving, earnest, fun-loving, and deep green Israel.

What is that low hung rectangle in the foreground, you wonder? Orchards, covered by acres of netting, with perhaps bananas, mangoes or avocados or dates. The fruit in Israel is fresh, abundant and unforgettable.

Why does Israel exist, when its enemies Hate it? Well this peaceful scene you see is protected by a very efficient, always alert, Awesome capability, thanks in large part to its beloved friend, the United States of America.

Israel, this Israel you see, Loves the U.S.A. Happy 4th of July, America!

Jeff