Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Make Like an Egyptian Tree, and Avoid Israel

Palm frond export ban threatens Sukkot lulav supply

Print Email
A lulav (the palm frond) and an etrog (the small citrus fruit).(wordscraft/Flickr)

On Sunday, Egypt announced a two-year prohibition on the export of palm leaves to Israel, due in part to a troublesome Red Palm Weevil. The move threatens the supply of lulavs, a crucial instrument in the Sukkot ritual: Egypt annually exports up to 700,000 palm fronds to Israel, and roughly half that number to the United States and Europe.

While Egypt’s agriculture minister cited both excessive harvesting and disease in announcing the ban, some were quick to link his statement to the recent contretemps between his country and Israel, which brought tensions to perhaps their highest point since the 1979 peace treaty.

Egypt announced a similar ban in 2005, and, additionally, the Israeli daily Maariv reported that unidentified Israeli importers paid off Egyptian palm growers to limit their exports to drive up prices; the resultant shortage affected Jewish communities around the globe. In 2010, despite another announced ban, Egypt maintained its normal output. (The issue is important enough as to merit mention in a just-dumped WikiLeaks cable.)

In addition to Egypt, Israelis also use lulavs from the West Bank and even Gaza, so we’ll have to wait to see how things shake out this year. Fortunately, Israel does not appear to rely on the hot Iranian desert for its etrogs.

Egyptian Government Bans Export of Palm Leaves to Israel [AlMasry AlYoum]

Print Email
Jacob.arnon says:

Israel will be lucky if all the have to put up with from Egypt is a shortage of palm leaves.

And why can’t farmers grow them in Israel?

Barry says:

This is good news. Halacha forbids use of items dedicated to Avodah Zorah. Long time ago Muslims worshiped G-d, but contemporary Egyptians worship Mohammed exclusively. (Have you ever seen them riot over a “cartoon” of G-d? Compare how they act when their cult leader is caricatured).

This policy is going to hurt the shitty Egyptian economy (already in the dumpster) and prevent yidden from using avodah zorah. A win-win all around.

Barry, you happen to be an ignoramous. Islam happens to be the only foreign religion (including chabad) which is not avoda zara. It does contradict more than one of the 13 Ikkarim, but it is not avoda zara. And even if it was, the trees or the lulavim would have to be dedicated for avoda zara, which they are not.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Make Like an Egyptian Tree, and Avoid Israel

Palm frond export ban threatens Sukkot lulav supply

More on Tablet:

Klinghoffer at the Met

By Paul Berman — John Adams’s masterpiece is about an American Jew murdered by Palestinian terrorists, but the real opera is off stage