By Maurice Picow
Israel and Man’s largest Mammal don’t really have much in common; except for the Biblical moral story about a man who, after fleeing from God’s directive, spent three days in the belly of “a great fish” – supposedly a whale. This non-relationship suddenly changed when Israel voted along with other non-whaling nations to limit the amount of international whale hunting that has been partially responsible for severely depleting the world’s whale population. Whaling, or whale hunting for it’s oil, meat, and other products (once nearly all respective women wore corsets reinforced with whale bone) has been an important industry in countries like Russia, Norway, and Japan. America and many other countries either curtailed or completely banned whale hunting after their ‘products’ were no longer being used by their populations.
Israel, as a member of the International Whaling Commission, and due to increase pressure by animal rights activists, cast the deciding vote to limit international whale hunting, much to the chagrin of Japan and Norway. The Japanese still hunt these noble and non-violent creatures, and consume whale meat as part of their diet. As more are more Japanese citizens have discontinued serving this ‘delicacy’ however, it will hopefully not be long until that country joins the anti-whale hunting ‘club’ and gives up hunting them as well. Many of the larger species of whales, including sperm whales, blue whales ( by far the largest of the species), and hump-backed whales have been hunted or decimated by pollution and global warming to the point of some of them being put on the list of endangered species. The fortunes of these great beasts have been further threatened by a severe decrease of certain food supplies, such as marine shrimp-like creatures that many whales consume as their main source of food. Certain forms of algae also important in the whale’s ‘food chain’ are being decimated as well.