Middle East

Middle East

It’s Kosher: Bomb-Sniffing Pigs Will Help Protect Settlements

The Kosher Pig
Geva Zin, an Israeli mine-clearing expert, trains one of his pigs to find explosives in the southern Kibbutz of Lahav, Sept. 30, 2003 (Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP-Getty Images).

Former Chief Rabbi Mordehai Eliyahu and [the West Bank settlement of] Kiryat Arba’s Chief Rabbi Dov Lior have given their endorsement to a proposal to test the use of wild pigs in detecting terrorist infiltrators and explosives in West Bank communities. “Boars could be better than dogs in finding mines and explosives,” says a former trainer of sniffer dogs. The pig is considered impure according to Jewish law; it would also deter Muslim terrorists.

The initial question was posed to the rabbis by the Gedud HaIvri, a volunteer group in Israel that deploys canines and dog handlers to help sniff out Arab terrorists, Israel National News reported. Known in English by the name Jewish Legion, the group has been active providing specially trained canines to settlements to serve as “defensive guard dogs trained to subdue, rather than kill” intruders.

“Wild pigs have a very advanced sense of smell, many times better than that of the dogs,” said Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov, director of the Jewish Legion. “Special trainers would be brought from Israel and from overseas to train them to ‘patrol’ around communities and find hiding terrorists,” he said.

According to a Ma’ariv report, the pigs would be trained to sniff out weapons and explosives from great distances, and then to amble forth to approach the terrorists, thereby identifying them for human guards.

An additional advantage to the use of pigs would be the fact that the animal is considered dangerous in Islam. According to Islamic belief, any terrorist who touches an “unclean” pig or even pigskin “would be denied the reward of 70 virgins in heaven,” Ben-Yaakov said. He added that the purchase of pigs would be financed by donations raised overseas and that the animals would be purchased from Kibbutz Lahav in the Negev, where efforts are already being made to train pigs to sniff out landmines. “The prohibition of raising the pig is known,” said Rabbi Daniel Shilo of Kedumim, who serves as chairman of the rabbinical committee of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria [the West Bank], and the Gaza Strip. “But because we are dealing with pikuach nefesh, the saving of lives, it is permissible to have the animal.”

Boars already being trained to sniff out landmines
Geva Zin, 26, a former dog trainer in the Israel Defense Forces, is now training a breed of “mini-pigs” to find landmines. According to an Israel21c report, Zin first thought of the idea while training dogs to detect landmines for a private de-mining firm in Croatia.

Zin encountered dozens of wild boars who grazed in the area. “I watched their behavior and reached the conclusion that they could be better than dogs in finding mines and explosives,” Zin told Yediot Aharonot. “I noticed that they were constantly sniffing the ground and that their snout was always hovering above the ground. I also got the impression that their sense of smell was unusually developed.”

Upon his return to Israel, Zin approached the Institute for Animal Studies in Kibbutz Lahav, which raises pigs, and suggested that he train boars to find mines. His request was granted, and a nine-month research project was launched, Israel21c reported.

“The beauty of using the boars is that it is a tool that even the unsophisticated can use,” said Lahav resident Moshe Tayer. “We could go into the third world, and teach even the most uneducated villagers how to work with the boar as a tool for locating land mines and saving lives.” But he added that at this stage, “our research is far from complete.”

“The pigs are for Angola and Mozambique,” Zin said. “We’re going to use them for humanitarian missions ... We’re training them, not for food, but to save lives.”

When asked about the suitability of boars for their new task, Zin replied, “There’s no doubt. Look at their noses! God designed them to go into the field and find mines.”