Postcard from... Jerusalem


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The Independent Online


Those readers who are scared of spiders should turn the page now. For those a little more curious about such creepy-crawlies, perhaps you’d fancy a trip to Israel. Especially if you’d like to bump into a black tarantula or several spiders like it.

“Arachnids have a negative and scary image, but they don’t deserve it,” Dr Efrat Gavish-Regev of Tel Aviv University’s Arachnology Association told the Haaretz newspaper recently. “In most cases they bite only when they’re threatened and usually give a warning before using their venom.”

Dr Gavish-Regev and her colleagues have produced a guide to help to identify the country’s creepy-crawlies. It is unclear at this stage – the booklet will be launched on Thursday – whether it also covers what form a warning from an Israeli spider takes, and just how long you’ve got if you are bitten by one.

Israel’s Ministry of Tourism is forever updating journalists on the country’s increasing number of visitors, but it doesn’t say why they come in the first place. Perhaps the latest craze will be spider tourism? Dr Gavish-Regev’s guidebooks, and a bloody big shoe, at the ready, then.