Israel faces festival palm shortage

2011-09-18 22:05

Jerusalem - An Egyptian decision to ban the export of closed palm fronds used in an upcoming Jewish festival is forcing Israel to seek ways to make up the shortfall, its agriculture minister said on Sunday.

In the past, Israeli dealers imported between 600 000 and 700 000 fronds, the vast majority of which came from Egypt's Sinai region.

The closed fronds of the date palm are used by Jews during the holiday of Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles - which begins on October 12 and lasts for seven days.

Following the Egyptian ban, the agriculture ministry "is encouraging local palm farmers to significantly increase the amount of fronds they will supply for the holiday", a statement from Agriculture Minister Orit Noked said.

Relations between Egypt and Israel, which have been bound by a peace treaty since 1979, entered a period of turbulence after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak by a popular uprising in February.

The Israeli embassy in Cairo was ransacked last weekend, forcing the evacuation of staff and the departure of the ambassador.

Egypt's envoy to Israel was summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry after Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was quoted by official news agency MENA as saying that the peace treaty between the two states was "not sacred".

The Egyptian agriculture ministry gave no reason for its worldwide ban on frond exports, Israeli officials said.

They said it was not yet known whether Israeli farmers, who normally provide 200 000 fronds for the holiday, would be able to sufficiently boost production.

Licences to import the fronds from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and even Spain have been issued by the agriculture ministry.

Traders in Israel do booming business in the days leading to Sukkot, selling palm fronds.

The faithful wave the fronds about during the festival, which commemorates the 40 years the Jews spent wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt, according to scripture.

Read more on:    egypt  |  israel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.