Israel will import vegetables from EU member countries, from Jordan and from Cyprus, in view of difficulties sourcing vegetables from the Palestinian Authority as a result of the hostilities and the shaky security problems in the area. In an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Agriculture in Tel Aviv approved the import of vegetables “until regular supply of vegetables from the Palestinian Authority, based on agreements signed with Israel, will resume,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture.

In another move, Finance Minister Avraham Shochat signed an order allowing for the duty free import of 10,000 tonnes of vegetables, slated for the ultra-orthodox population in Israel, who do not consume produce grown by Jewish farmers during the current shmita year, in which Jewish-owned land must lie fallow. The customs exemption was requested by the Ministry of Agriculture. The Ultra-Orthodox follow the Biblical law stating that “Six years thou shalt sow thy field, but in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land.” (Leviticus 25:3-4). For more information on this law and its implications, Click Here

Farmers’ organisations in Israel reported heavy damages to crops, especially from the Jordan Valley and northwestern Negev farming communities, which employ Palestinian workers now temporarily unable to cross the border from the Gaza region.