The old-timers who have lived on this moshav since its founding in 1949 told me this was a "nemia." Armed with the Hebrew name, I could then be helped by Google to learn that my visitor was none other than an EGYPTIAN MONGOOSE.
When the moshav was still a collective agricultural village and not almost privatized like today, every household had to raise laying hens in huge numbers. Now only about a dozen chicken runs still operate. But this explains the presence of the nemiot. They love to eat eggs and chickens. Indeed, one often sees little piles of white left-over feathers in the woods.
Thankfully, the mongoose also catches snakes, rats, and mice. True, I have never seen rodents around my house, and but one snake. However, often at night I hear a four-legged upstairs neighbor in the space between my ceiling and roof, galloping back and forth or scratching furiously. The scientific literature claims that the mongoose is an agile and playful creature. Aha! Perhaps my nocturnal sounds mystery is solved!
The Indian mongoose was renowned for its swiftness in killing cobras. Rudyard Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" was such a mongoose. For interesting history and facts on this critter see here, the Canadian Museum of Nature. Thanks to them for this drawing too.
Other bloggers are posting their animals today on Camera Critter Sunday. Have a look!