Israel Aharoni

Israel Aharoni (* 1882 as Israel Aharonowitsch in Widse close to the Russian -Polish border, today Vidzy in Belarus, near the border with Lithuania, † October 9, 1946 ) was a Jewish zoologist. He discovered thirty unknown animal species ( again), which he allotted Hebrew names. Today he is best known for his expedition to the plateau of Aleppo ( Syria). There, he managed the tomboy of the litter of golden hamsters, which are so well descended as all extant copies that are kept as laboratory or pet animals worldwide.


Aharoni came from a family of rabbis and enjoyed a traditional education. At the age of 13 he went to Prague to study at the city's rabbinical seminary, founded by Armand Kaminka. At high school, he and Egon Erwin Kisch, a national Jewish youth newspaper in German language. Later he became involved in Zionist youth organizations. After completing Aharoni studied at Prague University Zoology and Semitic languages.

Aharoni 1901 emigrated to Palestine, which was then still under Ottoman rule. Here he gained notoriety as " the first Hebrew zoologist ." His first expeditions were still under the protection of the Sultan, for he put butterfly collections. Many of the specimens collected by him can be seen in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem today.


1930 broke Aharoni on an expedition to Syria in order to look for native hamster species. His colleague, the parasitologist Saul Adler, it promised to be a viable replacement for the Chinese hamster strip, which he used as a test subject in his research on leishmaniasis. Together with a Syrian leader named Georgius Khalil Tah'an succeeded Aharoni on the plateau of Aleppo a nest with a golden hamster females and eleven pups to locate and dig up (supposedly there was the nest at a depth of two and a half meters ). The first description of this kind had George Robert Waterhouse made ​​in 1839, on the basis of skin parts of a single animal, which he had found in the British Museum. After that, they were never observed more again. As the mother began to kill their offspring, Aharoni was forced to kill it yourself, and raise the pups on the way back by hand. Still more of them were killed or escaped. Only three males and one female survived the transport to Jerusalem. However, these were very successfully bred and bred. Already after one year they had multiplied to 150 animals and were then extensively used as laboratory animals. Only in the 1940s, they came to the pet market, in Germany about a decade later.