With Sukkot coming up and observant Jews preparing to purchase their “arba minim” sets – featuring etrogim (citrons) and lulvavim (palm fronds) – the Israel Growers Association has some money-saving advice; don't buy a lulav that costs more than NIS 30.
The background to the Association's announcement involves regional geopolitics – specifically the uprising in Egypt this year against former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. In the wake of the Egyptian revolution, Egypt will not be exporting lulavim from Sinai for the first time since the 1970s. As a result, rumors of a lulav shortage are rife, and unscrupulous merchants, says the Association, are planning to hike prices.
However, there are enough lulavim to go around for anyone who wants one, says the Association. Last month, the Agriculture Ministry went on a campaign to encourage Israeli growers to market more lulavim, and licenses for imports from Spain, Jordan and Gaza have been granted – although it is not certain that those imports will even be needed. The Ministry expects local growers to be able to supply 650,000 lulavs – in which case there will not be a serious shortage of supply. In addition, the Ministry stated, about 200,000 high quality "mehudar" lulavs will be produced in Israel, as in every year.
The bottom line, says Association spokesperson Buki Glasner, is that the price of a “regular” lulav under rabbinical supervision should wholesale on average for between NIS 10 and 12, meaning a retail “street price” of NIS 30 and under.
“Any price above that level would be an unfair one for consumers to pay,” Glasner added.