Daily Israel Report

Pesach, Yom Ha'atzmaut Have Cows on the Run

During the 5 weeks between Passover and Lag Ba'omer, meat consumption in Israel jumps.
By David Lev
First Publish: 4/23/2012, 10:05 PM

Cows
Cows
Israel news photo: Flash 0-

During an average month, Israelis eat 1.7 kilograms (a bit less than four pounds) of meat. But that number jumps during the five weeks between the beginning of Passover and Lag Ba'omer; during that period, beef and lamb consumption jump to 2.3 kilos (over seven pounds) per Israeli on average.

The reason? Besides the festive meals on Passover, which in most years includes 2 full holiday (Yom Tov) days and a Shabbat - plus intermediate days during which families are on vacation and there is much barbecuing, -  that period includes Yom Ha'atzmaut, when “al ha'esh” - the Israeli version of barbecue – is a near-universal custom, even among national religious and many hareidi Israelis, some of whom shun the concerts and dances that many Israelis attend on the night of Yom Ha'atzmaut.

In an average month, Israelis will consume a total of about 9,500 tons of meat, but during the holiday period, that number jumps to 15 thousand tons. Officials of the Agriculture Ministry say that the average Israeli eats 18 kilos of beef and lamb (mostly beef) a year.

Traditionally, most meat in Israel has been imported frozen from South America, but in recent years Israelis have preferred fresh, home-grown beef, and today about 56% of meat sold is fresh. Because of the demand for fresh cuts of meat suitable for the grill, the price of cuts like entrecote and deveined sirloin has risen significantly. However, the price of cuts suitable for oven or stovetop cooking has actually fallen.

Editor's note: In Israel, as opposed to the USA, the entire cow is koshered (in a method called treibering which removes a non kosher tendon) and Israelis can buy cuts of meat unavailable to the kosher consumer in the USA