Michael Fenenbock
Michael Fenenbock

Saving Phil’s Life

Several weeks back my wife and I saved Phil’s life. An accident left Phil physically out of commission and sidelined. Worse, without immediate attention, Phil was facing real danger. Phil needed emergency care. His situation had become life threatening.

In a kind of Hillel moment – If not us then who? — my wife and I decided we needed to act.

We transported Phil to an excellent Israeli hospital where he received immediate and experienced care. We’re pleased to report that Phil’s prognosis is excellent. He’s going to make it. Phil received the professional care he needed just in time.

As you may have guessed Phil is the name we gave to a young Crow unable to fly because of a damaged wing.

Phil’s wounds will heal, Phil will fly again.

I can’t help but see some parallels between Phil’s story and Israel. Phil is resilient, tough, and resolute. He will renew his strength.  Phil will bounce back.  Just as the Jewish state recovered from 11 days of a rocket attacks and has bounced back and continues to move forward.

And, like the Jewish state, Phil was surrounded by enemies eyeing his incapacity and presumed vulnerability. Just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. And here’s another parallel that reminds me of Israelis. Phil’s extended Crow family was watching over him, protecting him, attacking predators that got near Phil. Israelis take care of each other.

We transported Phil to For the Wildlife, a nonprofit organization founded by Avihu Sherwood for the purpose of “rescuing, treating and rehabilitating wild animals.”

Israelis are predisposed to be proactive.  The readiness and ability to initiate action, take personal responsibility and act is a mainspring of Israeli success. Avihu Sherwood saw a need for wildlife rescue that wasn’t being met . . . and he acted. He took a chance on himself and founded For the Wildlife. What a wonderful enterprise it’s turned out to be.

My wife and I and Phil were met at the door by senior For the Wildlife staffer Michal who immediately attended to Phil’s needs.

Once Phil was diagnosed and treatment underway, the charming and knowledgeable Michal took us on a tour of the facility. An abandoned nest of young Ring Necked Parrots had just arrived and were being looked after, baby boars, jackals, foxes, and injured Middle Eastern birds from owls to storks and plovers. Michal proudly detailed for us the recent touch and go story of a critically injured young hedgehog that, with treatment and care, miraculously recovered and was returned to the wild healthy.

Located in a central Israel Moshav, For the Wildlife rescues, treats, rehabilitates and releases thousands of different wild animals – mammals, birds, and reptiles – year round. They also see part of their responsibility as educating and promoting respect for nature and animals as well as the need for conservation. As a non-profit organization, the operation of the For the Wildlife clinic is entirely dependent on donations and volunteers.

For the Wildlife reflects a spiritual connection to the land and creatures of Israel. And they mirror many of the virtues shaped by our Zionist founders and by Israel itself  . . . initiative, adventurousness, determination, responsibility for one another, a refusal to back down, self–respect and confidence.

Too often we see the Jewish state painted negatively in contrived propaganda. For the Wildlife is a snapshot of the real Israel.

About the Author
Michael Fenenbock is a longtime American political media strategist based in California and New York. He and his wife Daphne Weisbart made Aliyah to Jerusalem in 2020. Michael has written extensively about Israel and Israel-U.S. relations.
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