JERUSALEM (AA) – Israeli authorities have chosen a deadly Palestinian serpent as Israel’s national snake.
The serpent, known as the Palestine Viper, was selected as Israel’s national snake in an online vote held by the country’s nature and parks authority this week.
The Palestine Viper got 39% of 9,419 votes, while 12% went to the nonvenomous runner-up, the black whipsnake.
One of the most dangerous snakes, the Palestinian serpent lives in all of historical Palestine as well as Jordan and parts of Lebanon and Syria.
The selection immediately drew fire from the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a “theft of the Palestinian heritage”.
"The Palestinian snake and its name emphasize the identity of this land and its biological diversity even before the establishment of the state of Israel,” Imad al-Atrash, the executive director of the Palestine Wildlife Society, said in a statement.
“The struggle over the snake’s national identity was part of the larger battle by the PA to preserve Palestinian identity,” he added.