Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Red heifer blues

DID THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE SPEAK TOO SOON? No holy cow: Israel trying to raise red heifer, but for meat-lovers. U.S. donors behind Negev efforts to raise Red Angus reject messianic Temple Institute's involvement in agricultural-economic effort (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
But as opposed to the announcement by the Temple Institute, the project was not initiated and is not funded by it. Rather, it began several years ago at the initiative of the Cleveland-based Negev Association, with the cooperation of the research and development department of the Ramat Negev Regional Council.

The purpose of that project is to import embryos of Red Angus cows to Israel – to raise them for meat, which is thought to be of especially high quality and is very popular in the United States. This type of bovine species is also well suited to desert conditions. Frozen embryos and not live cows are imported due to Agriculture Ministry regulations, which forbid the import of such livestock due to the fear of the spread of disease.

Apparently, the Temple Institute joined this agricultural-economic endeavor, considering it a golden opportunity to help realize its objective on the Temple Mount. They reached an agreement with Moshe Tenne, the owner of a Negev cattle farm where the cows are being raised. According to the agreement, Tenne will permit monitoring by halakhic authorities (i.e., those versed in traditional Jewish law) if and when an embryo is successfully implanted and develops, and a red calf is born. He also agreed to the installation of cameras to supervise the conditions under which the mother and offspring are cared for.

But when the announcement was publicized last week, the Ramat Negev Regional Council received complaints about its cooperation with the Temple Institute. Donors in Cleveland were particularly angry, and in a conversation yesterday between the director of the Negev Association they support and a representative of the Temple Institute, the director said that they have no intention of continuing the cooperation with the institute.
Background here and links.