With Tishrei on the horizon, the Ministry of Agriculture reminds travelers that one may not bring arba minim into the country for Sukkos.
The Ministry’s Plant Protection & Inspection Services is increasing its manpower assigned to border control, in light of the increase in the number of attempts by private individuals and merchants to bring arba minim into Israel, and at times, the arba minim are infected by various pests.
As in past years, agents assigned to border control will offer a person bringing arba minim with a personal (non-commercial) product made in Israel, including hadassim, aravos, and of course, a lulav. It should be noted that the passengers are permitted to bring one esrog per passenger.
According to the Plant Protection Law, and in order to prevent the passage between countries of pests and pathogens to plants (insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses), it is absolutely forbidden to bring fruits and vegetables and any other plant products into the territory of the State of Israel. Any transfer of agricultural produce to the borders of the State of Israel without the approval of the Ministry of Agriculture constitutes a criminal offense.
It should be noted that when an importer or a citizen wishes to bring in agricultural produce from a foreign country, the Plant Protection & Inspection Services of the Ministry of Agriculture conducts tests to ensure that the produce meets the import requirements. Pests and pathogens do not always appear in the eye, but the introduction of lulavim, esrogim, plants, or any other fruit or vegetable left in one’s breakfast bag, then eaten at the hotel and even thrown into the garbage, can cause the introduction of a new species of harm or disease causing local agriculture .
The Ministry of Agriculture makes it clear that those interested in bringing the arba minim to Israel in advance should contact the Plant Protection & Inspection Services of the Ministry of Agriculture.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)