Lycaena Thersaon in the HolyLand

Coupled Copper Butterflies photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

I actually wanted to repeat. Repeat that fantastic day in June 2008, on the peak of Mt. Hermon, at the very northern extreme of Israel. Where scores of men died battling for the mountain, and where even in ’08, Eran called me over to warn me, Jeff, stays on the trails, because his boot was pointing just ahead of him, at a very healthy looking landmine, left there decades before, and still sort of grinning up at us, as in ‘Dare you to tickle me with your big  toe?’

I so wanted to return there April 2017, but no guides would do it. Down on then northern base of Mt. Hermon, were the regular Syrian forces , ISIL butchers, the Syrian rebels, the Russians, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, maybe North Koreans here and there, the Kurdish forces and surely some highly trained American ‘advisors.’ The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) weren’t allowing civilians on Hermon. Rats!

So what did I do? I drove up the base of Hermon, on a very narrow, very curvy, for me, very scary road. Sharing the road with 18-wheelers, all aggravated at this boy from Brooklyn (flat land, the Dutch once called it).

I worked the perimeter of the village of Neve Ativ, on the slope of Mt. Hermon. With much success and with total focus.

Found this pair of coppers, Lycaena Thersamon. Coupled together. Male on the left, female to the right. They were handsome and fresh, and they were on the safe, peaceful side of the mountain, unhurried, striving to assure future generations of HolyLand butterflies. I cannot image how any or many of their cousins can be left, amid the ordinance being  exchanged on the other side of majestic Mt. Hermon.

Jeff