Arab Spring ripples through ultra-Orthodox Sukkot market

12.10.2011                      14.Tischrei. 5772                       Erew Sukkot

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Arab Spring ripples through ultra-Orthodox Sukkot market

At the four-species market, merchants grapple with a lulav shortage caused by an Egyptian export ban.

Although many in the ultra-Orthodox community preferred to ignore the winds of change in the Middle East, they learned a firsthand lesson on the Arab Spring – with the soaring price of lulavs.
The Egyptians halted the export of lulavs from El-Arish, causing a shortage and hike in the price of the palm fronds that are one of the four species of Sukkot. An effort was made to import lulavs through Jordan, but this was scuttled by the Hashemite Kingdom's strict trading laws. Shas then intervened, and tried to obtain a permit to import the fronds from the Gaza Strip, thus forcing the state to breach its own laws concerning the siege on Hamas. In a strange twist, Gaza refused to export 50,000 precious lulavs, and despite whispers that Hamas authorities were trying to disrupt the Jewish holiday, the true reason was an insect that wreaked havoc on the palm trees in the Gaza Strip….