Thu, 01/21/2021 - 5:02pm

Holy Land, Promising Puppies

Despite the social deprivations of the pandemic, the beauty of the landscapes outside our homes and the faithful, life-affirming canines inside them. Yossi Guy's photography project combines both.

The current pandemic has caused the dog world great damage due to the fact that dog shows are rare and far apart. Israel is no exception, with a small number of extremely small shows taking place every few months whenever the lockdown is lifted for a while.

Breeders, however, have never had it so good. Demand for puppies is unbelievably high. It began with the first lockdown, when schools closed, and continued with the cancellation of family holiday trips. This led to many families looking for an addition to the family in the form of a puppy. Waiting lists are extremely long, and prices have hit the roof.

Dogs are often very much part of the family structure, tasked with emotional labor and serviced by family members willing to alter their schedules and homes to accommodate canine needs. The dog creates the dynamics of the household, or contributes to them, as much as the human members do.

But on a deeper level, studies suggest the family dog may have an influence on the general well-being of family members. In 2015, the American Board of Family Medicine published a lengthy review of the known health benefits of dog ownership. The group presented evidence that dogs enhance feelings of happiness, security and self-worth, and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation on a daily basis. Dogs encourage social trust, civic engagement, neighborhood friendliness and an overall sense of community. Studies have shown that elderly people who own pets have diminished need for medical services as they age.

For children, the health advantages are even more well established. Infants who grow up around dogs have stronger immune systems and show improved psychosocial development as toddlers. Adolescents with dogs have an easier time coping and recovering from trauma, and are more likely to report regular social interactions and a sense of community.

One of the most significant health impacts, however, is that children with dogs engage in more physical activity. Kids with dogs walk more, play outside more, and are more likely to meet physical activity recommendations. This leads to improved cardiovascular health and lower rates of obesity.

Despite the social deprivations of the pandemic, two things are freely available to us – the beauty of the landscapes outside our homes, and the faithful, life-affirming canines inside them. Inspired by this – and missing my photo-taking at dog shows – this August I started a photography project that combines sweet puppies with historical locations in Israel. The juxtaposition is a reminder that life always brings us new possibility, and that, despite the seeming fragility of life – something we are feeling quite acutely these days – some things do indeed endure.

I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed taking them.


Mount Tabor


Tali Krotman brought two Beagle puppies from her kennel – a male named Criminal Minds Kochav Jericho and a female named Under Cover Kochav Jericho. Both of the puppies are keepers from recent litters.



Mount Tabor rises 575 meters above sea level in the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Also known as the Mount of Transfiguration, it is the traditional site of the Transfiguration described in the Synoptic Gospels, when Jesus became radiant, spoke with Moses and Elijah, and was called “Son” by God. Two churches on top of the mountain commemorate the Transfiguration– an impressive Franciscan church built on the ruins of Byzantine and Crusaders churches, and a modest Greek Orthodox church named for the prophet Elijah.

In 1099 Benedictine monks were installed at the church on Mount Tabor by the Crusaders. They were later massacred by a Turkish attack in 1113, but the Benedictines returned to rebuild. Their church monastery survived an 1183 attack by Saladin’s army, but did not survive the Crusader defeat at the Horns of Hattin in 1187. A Muslim fortress was subsequently built on the mountain, precipitating the fifth Crusade to take back the holy place. While the Crusader siege failed, the fortress was dismantled to stop any further provocation. The walls and gate around the current Franciscan compound are a restoration of the 13th-Century fortress walls.


Sea of Galilee


The Newfoundland pup's picture was taken overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The puppy comes from Dr. Keren Regal's breeding and his name is Everest Court De La Reine. Dr. Regal kept him and his littermate Eric from her latest litter.



The Sea of Galilee, known as Lake Kinneret to Israelis, lies on the ancient Via Maris that linked Egypt with the northern empires. The Jordan River flows through this lake. Its strategic location and excellent fishing made the lake’s vicinity a popular place for Greek, Hasmonean and Roman settlement. And because Jesus of Nazareth grew up in this area, his ministry revolved around the Sea of Galilee.

The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke describe how Jesus recruited the Galilee fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew and the brothers John and James as apostles. His famous Sermon on the Mount is believed to have been delivered on a hill overlooking the lake, and this is also the body of water on which the Gospels say he walked. The miracle of the loaves and fishes took place on its banks.

The region was also the site of the first Jewish kibbutzDeganya, established in 1909. For the past half-century, this is Israel's largest water reservoir, serving almost the entire country.




These Shiba Inu puppies were bred by Ekaterina and Natalia Oparina. The black puppy is a female named Kyarorain Kadosh Shou Shan and the orange male is Kaito Musashi Shou Shan. Both remained with the breeders.



If you had to pick a location to film a movie about the Crusades, you could check off every item on your list with the ancient city of Acre. Perched on some of the most beautiful coastline of the azure Mediterranean, and surrounded by thick fortress walls, Acre looks like a Hollywood movie set, complete with mosques, Turkish baths, a citadel and moats. And that’s only above ground!

Just a dozen miles north of Haifa, its ancient history goes back over 4,500 years as one of the oldest settled sites in the world. As a natural harbor, it became a prized target for nearly every conquering army who needed a deep port. Before Herod built Caesarea, all the goods from East and West came through here, and whomever held Acre held the world, as Napoleon still believed in 1799 when he tried to take it and said, “… the world would have been mine.”

The present Old City dates to Ottoman times, including the magnificent seawalls, and it sits on top of a Crusader city that is still being excavated. The city changed hands many times and has become an archeological wonderland of Templar Knight tunnels, Turkish baths, ancient walls, mosques, synagogues and Crusader-era buildings, many still under excavation with fabulous dungeons, great halls, gothic churches and a hospital.




Yanina Vilenchik brought her entire human family for the photo shoot with the puppies. She has a blue-merle Collie bitch named Blue Miracle Borning Snow, bred by Inna Simkin, and a Yorkshire Terrier bitch named Rakefet Mi Kochav Ha-Carmel from her own breeding.



Caesarea is located on the Mediterranean coast, about midway between Haifa and Tel Aviv. Archeological excavations during the 1950s and 1960s uncovered remains from many periods, in particular a complex of fortifications of the Crusader city and the Roman theater.

Founded by King Herod in the first century BCE on the site of a Phoenician and Greek trade post known as Straton's Tower, Caesarea was named for Herod's Roman patron, Augustus Caesar. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the city expanded and became one of most important in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, classified as the "Metropolis of the Province of Syria Palaestina."

Caesarea played an important role in early Christian history. Here the baptism of the Roman officer Cornelius took place; from here Paul set sail for his journeys in the eastern Mediterranean; and here he was taken prisoner and sent to Rome for trial.

During the Byzantine period, Caesarea became an important Christian center. At the beginning of the 4th Century, the theologian Eusebius, who served as Bishop of Caesarea, composed his monumental Historia Ecclesiastica on the beginnings of Christianity and the Onomasticon, a comprehensive geographical-historical study of the Holy Land.


Beit Shean


The Saluki puppy comes from Neshama Tova kennel. It was bred and owned by Keren Mintz.



Beit Shean was settled as early as the Chalcolithic era (about 6,000 years ago) and has remained continually inhabited since then. Extensive excavation of a large mound in Beit Shean has revealed more than 20 layers of remains from ancient civilizations, including Canaanite temples that pre-date Egyptian occupation of the region, followed by Israelite rule and the Philistines during the Old Testament period. Beit Shean is mentioned in the Bible several times and is best known as the site where King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls. The city remained a significant metropolis during the reigns of King David and King Solomon. During the Hellenistic period that followed, the city was renamed Scythopolis after Dionysus’ nurse, who was believed to have been buried here.

In the 1st Century AD, Beit Shean became a flourishing multi-cultural Roman city and one of 10 cities in the Decapolis regional league. Beit Shean was the Roman provincial capital in the 4th Century AD, but following an earthquake in 749 CE the city never truly regained its former status. Since then, the Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans, British and finally Israelis have each settled in Beit Shean.


Antipatris Castle


The Border Collie puppy is owned by breeder Hilay Levi.



Located not far from Tel Aviv, Aphek was among the earliest (fortified) royal Canaanite cities. It guarded the Aphek Pass of the Via Maris. This is the place where the Israelites suffered one of the most devastating defeats – the loss of the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. Paul was taken here on the way to Caesarea, according to the Acts of the Apostles.

From the Chalcolithic Period to the Ottoman Period the place was continuously inhabited. Its location was identified based on numerous Biblical, Egyptian, Assyrian and Roman-Byzantine sources.

Today, as you approach Tel-Aphek from the road, you can see the remnants of the impressive Ottoman fortress, Binar Bashi, which was built in 1571. Once on the site, in addition to the fortress you can also see the remains of an Egyptian governor's palace (dating to 1200-1550 BCE) and make out the remains of the ancient Cardo (main street), of the Roman city of Antipatris. Herod the Great built Antipatris to honor his father, Antipater. The city of Antipatris was destroyed in the earthquake of 363 and was the site of many battles between the Jews and the Romans.




Ziporet Carmel and her daughter Hilit brought their Whippet pups from Von Hilit’s Stars Kennel to the city of Nazareth. Here they are in front of the Greek Orthodox church.



Nazareth’s chief attractions are its many churches. Of these, the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation (completed 1966, on the site of a previous church of 1730 and a crusader foundation) is perhaps the best known. In it is the Grotto of the Annunciation, where, according to the New Testament, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced that she was to be the mother of Jesus. The grotto has part of a mosaic floor dating back to the 5th–6th centuries. The Church of the Annunciation is the largest Christian house of worship in the Middle East. Other important churches include Gabriel’s Church, held by Greek Catholics to be the site of the Annunciation.


Dome of the Rock


Tayko Har Adar is a lovely Akita puppy bred by Yossi Hadad, and owned by Vardit Hadad and Ronnie Ashkenazi.



One of the most iconic images of Jerusalem, Israel and the Middle East in general is undoubtedly the Dome of the Rock shimmering in the setting sun of Jerusalem. Sitting atop the Haram al-Sharif, the highest point in old Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock’s golden-color dome and Turkish faience tiles dominates the cityscape of Old Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is one of the earliest surviving buildings from the Islamic world, built between 685 and 691/2 by Abd al-Malik, and in the 7th Century it served as a testament to the power of the new faith of Islam. This remarkable building is not a mosque, as is commonly assumed, and scholars still debate its original function and meaning.

The Dome is located on the Haram al-Sharif, an enormous open-air platform that now houses Al-Aqsa mosque and several other religious buildings. Few places are as holy for Christians, Jews and Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif. It is the Temple Mount, the site of the second Jewish temple, which the Roman Emperor Titus destroyed in 70 C.E. while subduing the Jewish revolt; a Roman temple was later built on the site. The Temple Mount was abandoned in late antiquity.

At the center of the Dome of the Rock sits a large rock, which is believed to be the location where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Ismail (Isaac in the Judeo/Christian tradition). Today, Muslims believe that the Rock commemorates the night journey of Muhammad. One night the Angel Gabriel came to Muhammad while he slept near the Kaaba in Mecca and took him to al-Masjid al-Aqsa (the farthest mosque) in Jerusalem. From the Rock, Muhammad journeyed to heaven, where he met other prophets, such as Moses and Christ, witnessed paradise and hell, and finally saw God enthroned and circumambulated by angels.




American Akita female puppy named Michelin Har Adar is bred and owned by Yossi Hadad.



Gethsemane, the garden across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives (Hebrew Har ha-Zetim), a mile-long ridge paralleling the eastern part of Jerusalem, was where Jesus is said to have prayed on the night of his arrest before his Crucifixion. The name Gethsemane (in Hebrew “gat shemanim,” meaning “oil press”) suggests that the garden was a grove of olive trees in which an oil press was located.

Though the exact location of Gethsemane cannot be determined with certainty, Armenian, Greek, Latin and Russian churches have accepted an olive grove on the western slope of the Mount of Olives as the authentic site, which was so regarded by the empress Helena, mother of Constantine (the first Christian emperor, early 4th Century AD). An ancient tradition also locates the scene of the Gethsemane prayer and betrayal of Jesus at a place now called the Grotto of the Agony, near a bridge that crosses the Kidron Valley. At another possible location, south of this site in a garden containing old olive trees, is a Latin church erected by Franciscan monks on the ruins of a 4th-Century church.


Tel-Aviv Jaffa


This adorable little Japanese Chin, Totek Mistery Grace Patricia Dela, was bred by Alona Slavin, who decided to keep her.



An old Canaanite city, Jaffa was taken by Thuti, general of Egypt, in the 15th Century BCE and became a provincial capital during the Egyptian New Kingdom. The Israelite kings David and Solomon occupied it, the latter using it as the port for landing Lebanese timber that floated down the coast from Tyre. Later Jaffa was ruled by the Persians, but by about 350 BCE it is recorded as independent. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, the Ptolemies held it. In 68 CE, the Roman Emperor Vespasian captured it on his way to Jerusalem. The Crusaders captured the city in 1126 but lost it to Saladin in 1187. In 1191 it was recaptured by Richard I of England, but by 1197 it had been retaken by Saladin’s brother, al-Malik al-ʿĀdil (whose honorific Sayf al-Dīn, means “Sword of the Faith”). Jaffa was razed by the Mamlūks of Egypt in 1345 because of a threatened new Crusade, but, toward the end of the 17th Century, it began to develop again as a seaport.

During the course of the 19th Century, Jaffa grew from a tiny town into the region’s most important port and, after Jerusalem, its second most important city. Surrounded by productive agricultural hinterland, Jaffa was enhanced by its location on the junction of the coastal road and the road to Jerusalem, allowing it to serve as both an important hub for the export of citrus fruit and the gateway for pilgrims to Jerusalem and to the larger Holy Land. With the start of Jewish-Zionist immigration, Jaffa became the cultural and educational center of the immigrant population and included two Jewish neighborhoods, Neveh Ẓedeq and Neveh Shalom, which were established in northern Jaffa in the late 19th Century.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 as a Jewish suburb of the mainly Arab Jaffa. Over the past century, it has turned into Israel's commercial center and a very desirable metropolitan area that is known worldwide. Tel Aviv–Jaffa is definitely an example of ancient merging with new.



© Dog News. This article may not be reposted, reprinted, rewritten, excerpted or otherwise duplicated in any medium without the express written permission of the publisher.

Stay Connected



YES! Send me Dog News' free newsletter!