Israel is facing a shortage of certain food items
as the Jewish Passover holiday nears.
According to the Jerusalem Post
(JPost), Israelis preparing for the Jewish holiday could experience difficulties in finding meat. It added that if they do find meat on grocery shelves, they may have to shell out more. People of different religions are also facing the same problem, with JPost
warning families to "expect to see shortages of both chicken and beef, as well as higher prices."
Meanwhile, a separate report by the Globes
newspaper said more than 20 slaughterhouses in northern Israel have warned of a shortage of poultry and meat
two weeks before the Passover holiday. They pointed to the closure of a wastewater plant that treats brine produced as a result of the process that renders poultry fit for consumption under Jewish kosher rules.
Law firm Herzog Fox & Neeman, which represents the slaughterhouses, wrote a letter to Israeli Economic Minister Nir Barkat demanding an immediate resolution to the issue. The firm warned that if left unresolved, the issue could force the slaughterhouses to shut down.
According to Globes
, large quantities of salt are needed to render slaughtered livestock and poultry kosher – which results in an accumulation of brine. This resulting brine is sent to a special treatment plant that processes the wastewater before discharging it into the sea. If disposed of without being treated, the brine can contaminate groundwater.
Brine from the northern slaughterhouses is transferred to two treatment plants – the ELO facility in Acre and the Shafdan facility in Rishon LeZion, the latter located at the country's central region. The Acre plant processes brine from most of the slaughterhouses, but it will soon close on March 31.
Government, industry pointing fingers over food crisis
"The industrialists of the north, therefore demand that the [Israeli] Ministry of Economy
(MoE) should find an immediate solution for the disposal of brine as required by law – and for the extension of the activity of the ELO terminal to facilitate the regular supply of poultry and meat as the Passover holiday approaches," the law firm's letter stated.
Barkat's office responded to the letter by calling the problem "a market failure of the private sector, which did not manage to gear up for the disposal of waste from the process of slaughtering birds."
"The phenomenon of producers threatening rises in the prices of their products
morning and night has to stop. The citizens of Israel are not hostages, and they will know how to shop cleverly in the face of those who threaten their pockets." (Related: Food shortage simulation predicts 400% SURGE in food prices by 2030.
The MoE remarked that it is "making efforts to help the industry overcome the market failure that has come about, and is working day and night to find a solution to the problem."
In spite of the fiasco involving the MoE and the slaughterhouses, Israel's Egg and Poultry Board assured consumers that no shortfall is expected in the quantities of chickens slaughtered in the weeks before Passover.
Lawmaker Avigdor Lieberman commented on the ongoing food supply issue by means of a Twitter post. "Just before the holiday, food prices are rampant," he wrote.
The chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party in the Knesset – Israel's parliament – blamed his fellow legislators for prioritizing other concerns instead of addressing the rising food prices.
"Finance Minister [Bezalel] Smotrich is in Paris, [former Economic Minister Aryeh] Deri is busy with Deri Law 1 and 2 and [incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is busy with legislation that will allow him to receive gifts," Lieberman continued. "This lawlessness comes at the expense of all the citizens of Israel."
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