(photo credit: REUTERS)
As has been typical in recent years prior to the Passover holiday, the Agriculture Ministry is reporting an increase in the attempts to smuggle eggs, meat and cheese from the Palestinian Authority to Israel in the past few days.
Over the last week alone, inspectors seized 488,790 eggs, 183,233 tons of meat and 676 kg. of cheese, the ministry said.
The sharp increase in smuggling attempts is due to the potentially high profits that arise from selling such products, as demand grows prior to the Passover holiday, according to the ministry.
Over the weekend, inspectors stopped a truck at the Shomron Checkpoint that had come from the PA, with the intention of smuggling four tons of beef into Israel proper, the ministry said.
The driver, a resident of central Israel, was detained for questioning, and a court case has been opened against him.
Through a joint effort among Agriculture Ministry inspectors, Border Police and IDF soldiers, an egg sorting house near Hebron was raided also over the weekend, after discovering that the facility was falsely stamping eggs with “kosher for marketing” symbols, the ministry said.
On site, the inspectors confiscated the forging mechanism as well as 27,000 eggs from the adjacent warehouse.
In addition to the cases involving West Bank suppliers, over the weekend Agriculture Ministry inspectors also identified illegal meat operations occurring within Israel, in the city of Lod. At a facility there, the ministry said, black-marketing beef slaughtering without proper veterinary supervision. The meat there has been destroyed and legal action has been initiated against the operators, the ministry added.