In the heart of my city Jerusalem there is a valley which some group of residents fought against real estate "sharks" to preserve its natural virginity. During many years nobody touched the valley except of two kibbutzim (-Kibbutz = an Israeli collective settlement-) who leased the land which was filled with orchards. When there was no longer lease a herd of almost 40 gazelles remained and had to straggle against jackals, real estate "sharks" and the enormous development of the modern city of Jerusalem. Soon, only few gazelles left but good people and especially the residents of Givat Mordechai, the neighborhood near by, fought for their right to live, to live free like a gazelle.
The war succeeded and today the result is magnificent; a small herd is living in the valley, between fences which prevents the jackals or human being to attack them. The territory of their living is called "The Natural Core" and nobody, except of the people of the Society for the protection of Nature in Israel, are allowed to get inside it. The herd is living its life almost without interfering and one of the females is expecting to deliver a little gazelle. The recommended hours to watch the herd is early in the morning or late afternoon. Once you get to the valley you can choose where to go or what to do as long as you respect the laws of the place.
As a Jerusalemite I feel proud to live in my city and to have this natural pearl near my home. Think about wildness and about you as spectators of the living nature, how awesome it can be to watch the gazelles playing or a unique bird flying or an amazing flower blooming while in the surroundings everybody, people and cars, are rushing. Even a tourist who will visit Jerusalem will find some serenity while walking in the valley. You can spend at least half-day in the valley, seat next to the lake, have your breakfast or lunch (and don't forget to take your garbage with you), observe the gazelles and the birds and enjoy the nature.
When I took my daughter to the valley in order to take few photos of the gazelles I felt her excitement. It's interesting because we were visiting the Jerusalem zoo a lot of times, but when you encounter the wild animals without observing them inside cages then it feels totally different. There was a smell of adventure in the air while we were trying to capture the gazelles through the camera lens. On these moments I felt so happy because we left our hi-tech modern life for few hours and went back on time to the era were parents were plying with their kids or hiking with them, looking for mysterious adventures. This is something that each one of us should do - leave the cellular phone at home, grab a sandwich with some water and go on hiking. Touch the earth, smell the flowers and learn from the animal's behavior. You can ask Eva and Lionel Blumenthal from London whom I met in the valley when I came back again to photograph the gazelles. They told me that they enjoyed walking in the valley which they already knew for many years since their last time here and didn't care to spend the whole day there again.
Long time ago, before the valley reached to its phase today and before they were any fences, I went there on an early winter morning while the steams fog where still fresh and the whole area was still quiet. I was looking for the gazelles but didn't see any of them. Almost giving up, I made my way out of the valley and then it appeared - one of them stood in front of me like a statue gazing at me. I stopped breathing and could feel it's. It was like the gazelle was observing me but at the same time also examining. I didn't dare to move. The gazelle approached at me, smelled and then turned back and vanished through the fog.
At that moment I understood the beauty and purity of God's creation. In some point we are all like gazelles; trying to survive, wondering around, approaching each other but at the same time acting with cautious, touching, smelling, running and hiding, creating families but sometime giving up and breaking and sometime straggling to keep our own God's little acre against someone stronger then us.
One day humanity will understand that we all need our own "Natural Core" to fulfill our dreams and ambitious and to keep the most precious gift that God gave to us - planet earth and the right to live like a gazelle.