The growing tensions between Israel and Egypt may affect the Yom Tov of Sukkos this year.
According to a report on IDF Army Radio on Wednesday, Egypt has decided not to export Lulavim to Israel for Sukkos this year. The report said that the reason cited for the decision is the deterioration in ties between the two countries.
The Yom Tov of Sukkos begins in just four weeks, on the evening of Wednesday, October 12.
Egypt is the central exporter of Lulavim to Eretz Yisroel, and provides about half a million palm fronds annually, the general demand being 600 to 700 thousand Lulavim. IDF Radio said that export of Lulavim to the Jewish communities in the United States and Europe has also stopped.
The report said that the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture has announced that Egypt’s decision is expected to result in an increase in the price of Lulavim for Israelis this year. The Ministry reportedly said it tried to negotiate with the Egyptian authorities to get them to change their minds, but they stubbornly refused.
The Ministry will try to ensure that there is a steady supply of Lulavim at reasonable prices, mainly by increasing financial assistance to Israeli palm growers.
IDF Radio said that other alternative sources to import palm fronds are being examined, among them Jordan and Spain. The report said that Israel is even looking at the possibility of importing Lulavim from the Gaza Strip to meet demand without significantly raising the price.
Last year, Egypt also banned the export of lulavim, but did so three and a half months before Sukkos and not four weeks before Sukkos.The reason given for the ban last year was that Egypt sought to protect its 12 million palm trees which it felt were being decimated by the large number of Lulavim exported.
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