A report on Israel Radio Monday morning said that “former top security officials” in the IDF and other groups have urged Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon not to sign off on a new order that would reduce the duties on imported eggs. The report did not give details of the discussions the officials have had with Kachlon on the matter.
On Monday, schools and businesses of the Maale Yosef, Mevuot Chermon and Merom Galil regional councils in northern Israel were largely closed, as heads of those councils called on residents to protest the planned relaxing of the import duties. Farmers in those three areas are responsible for providing 70 percent of the eggs in the Israeli market.
The egg duty controversy is part of the overall effort by Kachlon and the rest of the government to lower food prices for Israeli consumers. In recent weeks, import duties on a wide variety of food products have been cut in order to foster competition, and force Israeli producers and especially wholesalers to lower prices. Like with many of the other products that have seen their duties slashed, eggs are largely marketed by one company – Tnuva – and as a result, the government believes, egg prices in Israel are significantly higher than they are abroad.
Speaking Monday, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said that he respected the Galilee egg farmers, because they not only helped the economy, but also helped maintain Israel’s presence on the border areas in the north. “Any reforms we undertake to lower the price of food for Israelis will be done only after intense discussions with the farmers,” he said.