The majestic Lion of Judah


November 3, 2023

The first line of the Hebrew quote is from Genesis 49:9 — “Judah is a lion’s whelp; On prey, my son, have you grown. He crouches, lies down like a lion, Like the king of beasts — who dare rouse him?”

It is understood that Jacob refers to his son Judah as a lion.

First as a cub, then a lion, and finally a lioness. The picture is of a lion who has taken down his prey and now crouches over it, defying anyone to take it from him. Judah will be mighty and victorious and dangerous to his enemies.

The Kiryat Shemona Lion is one of five so far placed by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.  

In this time of great pain, the Kiryat Lion has become a place of memorial, and deep meaning for Israelis. 

History of the Kiryat Lion

A long-term partnership between the Diaspora and Israel resulted in Kiryat Shemona being the beneficiary of a huge Lion’s Trail series sculpture. The Lion is more than 12 feet in height and 7 feet in length. The Lion sits majestically serene, sited at the Route 90 southern entrance to the City for maximum visibility.

Due to the efforts of Mayor Amichai Stern, the Lion was donated by Jerry Klinger of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation to Kiryat Shemona. The Lion is the artistic creation of noted Jerusalem sculptor Sam Philipe. The Lion is part of a national series, which Klinger and Philipe have named, the Lion’s Trail.

Klinger said, “The purpose of the Lion’s Trail is direct. It is a strong, physical affirmation of Jewish historical presence and legitimacy, a Kesher to the Land.  Each Lion has a dedication plate with a biblical text that links the Lion(s) to the site along with a simple declarative sentence, ‘Jews have lived here for over 3,000 years.’”

The Jewish people have, in fact, lived in Kiryat Shemona and or its nearby vicinity for more than 3,000 years.

“Jews,” he continued, “never separated themselves from the Land, though we have been denied our homes here. Today, there are those who want to deny Jews their homes in the Land of Israel again. The Lion stands in the way of the enemies of Israel who say we have never been here and have no right to be here.”

Lions have already been placed in Gush Etzion, Ma’ale Adumim, Bet Shean, and Kiryat Shemona. Lions will be placed shortly in Ariel, Nesher, Yokneam and the Golan.


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