Gaza donkeys get dye-job, take on zebra role
Strip's children visiting small zoo delighted by two white female donkeys striped using masking tape and women's hair dye, applied with a paint-brush. Ramat Gan mayor asks local safari director to send two zebras to Gaza zoo in hopes it will prevent similar future occurrences
Two white donkeys dyed with black stripes delighted Palestinian kids at a small Gaza zoo on Friday who had never seen a zebra in the flesh.
With their long ears, drooping heads and sleepy eyes, the impostors probably would not have fooled a lioness. But the effect achieved by the zoo owners' dye job looks not so bad – to the unpractised eye, and from a distance.
On closer inspection it resembles the classic striped convict suit of cartoon strips.
Palestinian boys ride dyed donkeys at Marah Land zoo (Photo: Reuters)
Nidal Barghouthi, whose father owns the Marah Land zoo, said the two female donkeys were striped using masking tape and women's hair dye, applied with a paint-brush.
"The first time we used paint but it didn't look good," he said. "The children don't know so they call them zebras and they are happy to see something new."
A genuine zebra would have been too expensive to bring into Israel-blockaded Gaza via smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt, said owner Mohammed Bargouthi. "It would have cost me $40,000 to get a real one."
Gaza's Palestinians are impoverished by their isolation under an Israeli embargo against its Islamist Hamas rulers, who refuse to give up armed resistance against the Jewish state.
Bargouthi's zoo charged an entrance fee of just $15 for a full busload of children.
A day after the story was published by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, Ramat Gan Mayor Tzvi Bar announced that he was "shocked to read the story," adding that "it is an abuse of helpless animals."
The mayor called the Ramat Gan Safari director and asked him to send two zebras to the Gaza zoo in hopes it will prevent similar occurrences in the future.
"The zebras will be transferred to Gaza under the official commitment of the Gazans, to take good care of the animals," said Bar.
Next week the Ramat Gan Safari will begin the many arrangements involved in transporting the animals to Gaza, including permits from the Defense Ministry, IDF, Nature and Park Authority and the Palestinian Authority.