The Egyptian government's final decision to ban the export of
lulavim to Israel and the rest of the world has placed great
pressure on local date growers making extraordinary efforts and
harvesting around the clock in order to close the gap and meet the
demand for the upcoming Sukkos holiday.
MK Rabbi Uri Maklev has been working with the Foreign Ministry and the
Agriculture Ministry to enable lulav imports from other countries. In
addition, communities in the Beit Shean Valley, which dominate the
domestic lulav market, are making every effort to meet Agriculture
Ministry goals and reduce the dependence on imports as much as
possible, while maintaining the same price level as in previous
Growers are working to make full use of the lulav quota, marketing
lulavim that are about to ripen in order to flood the market and
prevent a shortage.
According to Avner Rotem, who heads the date palm section at Kibbutz
Tirat Tzvi, this year's original harvest ended at the beginning of Av
due to the warm weather and the date harvest, which took place at the
same time, but the Egyptian ban forced them to do a second harvest,
which requires basket cranes and other heavy equipment to reach
heights of 10 meters and more, and of course halachic sorting and
"In any event the mehadrin market is not expected to be harmed," says
Rotem. "Over the years the vast majority of mehadrin consumers have
consistently purchased Deri or Zahidi lulavim, which are in greater
supply this year and no price change is anticipated."
This year lulav marketers are hoping to pass the 100,000 mark for
mehudar lulavim. Shulchan Tamar, the umbrella group for date growers
at the Growers Council, released a statement saying that an agreement
had been reached with the growers according to which the price of a
standard lulav sold at the orchard, including VAT, would not exceed
NIS 10-12, while list prices at Arba Minim markets would not exceed
NIS 30, for a lulav at regular standards of kashrus.
Different figures have emerged for the number of lulavim bought in the
Israeli market. While the Agriculture Ministry reports 600,000-700,000
lulavim, local growers say there are no more than 500,000 lulavim in
the market. They attribute the gap to independent export sales by
local dealers, adding that the domestic lulav yield, along with
increased imports, will meet or exceed the demand.