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Agriculture Ministry: No Locusts to Plague Israel for Passover

Israeli authorities say they have managed to exterminate nearly all of the locusts that crossed the border into the country from Egypt.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 3/7/2013, 2:24 PM

Farmer holds locust in Gaza
Farmer holds locust in Gaza
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli agricultural authorities have vowed that no locusts will plague the Jewish State on Passover this year, saying they have managed to exterminate nearly all of the swarm that made it across the border into the country from Egypt.

The deployment of anti-locust pesticide in southern Israel continued in aerial and ground spraying at dawn on Thursday morning, a spokesperson for the Agricultural Ministry said.

Most of the swarm was eliminated, and it appears that weather may take care of the rest.

A massive infestation of more than 30 million of the insects – a plague of Biblical proportions – struck last weekend, stripping clean the fields and farms of the Egyptian region of Giza, home to the pyramids.

A much smaller swarm of “only one million” made it across the border from Sinai into southern  Israel and Gaza by Sunday, devastating potato crops in both areas and prompting officials to take immediate action.

Some locals in Israel also worked quickly – racing to gather the locusts for a rare, ancient tasty treat. 

Tel Aviv resident Meir Rane told the BBC he left his home at 2:30 a.m. in order to reach fields in the Negev in time to stay until 5:00 a.m. gathering the locusts in large cloth sacks. “Locusts don’t fly at night,” he said. “We eat them. It’s kosher according to Scripture,” he added. There are four varieties of the insect that are listed in the Torah as kosher.

“We collect them, put them in the oven. They come out like chips. You could put barbecue sauce on them,” he smiled.

“Fortunately, today’s forecast of easterly winds means no additional swarms are expected,” the ministry said in a statement Thursday. “Nevertheless, we are carefully monitoring the situation in Egypt” to ensure no additional swarms follow their brethren across the border.