Shortage of lulavs looms prior to Succot

Agriculture Ministry urges local production after it became clear exports from Sinai would be strictly prohibited.

Bayit Vagan  homes apartments palm tree 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Bayit Vagan homes apartments palm tree 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry is urging Israeli palm farmers to significantly increase the number of lulavs provided for sale for the holiday of Succot, in order to meet the upcoming demand, after it became clear to the ministry that export of palm fronds from the Sinai would become completely prohibited, a statement from the ministry said on Sunday.
The expected demand of lulavs this season is around 600,000-700,000, and in the face of potential shortage, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Orit Noked pleaded with her Egyptian counterpart Yousef Farag in early August to release palm fronds for export, according to the ministry.
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Farag, however, has refused to export palms from the Sinai until the end of 2011, a decision that will also sorely affect the Jewish communities in both North America and Europe, the ministry said.
“As a result of current circumstances, the ministry encourages and advises palm growers in Israel to increase the number of lulavs that will be supplied for the holiday,” Noked said in the statement.
“At the same time, the office will promote additional import alternatives, in order to enable everyone to perform the required Succot observance.”
Licenses to import palm fronds from Spain, Jordan and Gaza have been issued, but it is not yet known whether import will actually occur from these places, the ministry added.