Apparently, there are risks to left-wing mayors that no one would have even predicted. Who would have thought that residents of the northern Israel city of Haifa would have to share their city with wild boars?
Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel, is located at the foot of the Carmel Mountains, home to boars, foxes, jackals, and other animals, an AFP report said on Monday.
The boars, which have no natural predators in the area to keep them at bay, have been seen in Haifa at night for years searching for food. The municipality would allow hunters to shoot the boars to keep the population relatively small and the boars were only seen at night. However, since Einat Kalisch-Rotem (Labor) was elected as mayor in 2018, she has forbidden culling the animals.
As a result, the population has grown and the wild hogs have become increasingly brazen, showing up in the city during daylight hours, rummaging through and overturning garbage bins, ripping up plants and gardens and sometimes blocking traffic.
“They’ve turned our lives into a nightmare,” one woman shouted at an AFP crew who came to check out the scene for themselves.
“We chose to live in a city, but we live in a jungle,” said another resident, adding that the animals “are walking around in broad daylight.” And although there have been no cases of the wild boars attacking people, some residents are worried that their children could be attacked. “Some kids might scare the piglets which might aggravate (the older boars) and make them attack children,” one resident said.
Boars are a species of wild pig that inhabit Europe, Asia and North Africa and mostly consume plants, berries and fruit but will readily eat human leftovers from the garbage as well. They can grow to more than six feet in length although most are usually smaller.
Kalisch-Rotem is encouraging alternative solutions to prevent the boars from entering the city such as making sure they have enough food in the wild. The Haifa municipality even published a song on its Facebook page for children, preaching tolerance for the boars. “A Haifa girl isn’t afraid of two tusks and hair like a brush, she says good morning to the neighborhood boar.”
Kalisch-Rotem was supported by Haifa’s Chareidi parties in the 2018 election, which unseated Yona Yahav, who was mayor of Haifa for 15 years. Yahav’s defeat was predicted by Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky after the long-serving mayor ordered the destruction of a Charedi yeshivah. Rav Kanievsky said that: “Hashem should help that this Rasha should have a Mapala Gedolah (big downfall).”
Kalisch-Rotem was elected as the first female mayor of one of Israel’s large cities and shortly afterward, she garnered controversy by electing Hadash party member Raja Za’atara, who has expressed his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, as deputy mayor. Za’atara, who also said that ISIS learned “rape, murder, looting and massacre from the Zionists” refused to apologize for his statements and his appointment was revoked.
The next person on the Hadash list, Shahira Shalabi, was appointed in his place, the first female Arab to serve as a Haifa deputy mayor. However, her appointment as a better choice than Za’atara is questionable, considering her comments supporting terrorism during Operation Protective Edge in August 2014 when she posted on Facebook: “with spirit and blood, we will redeem Gaza.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)