Egypt’s Ban on Lulav Exports

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I was feeling good about the Los Angeles Times publishing my op-ed about the Egyptian decision to ban the export of lulavim to Israel, and to Jewish communities world-wide. The upshot was a swipe against the Arab mentality of thriving on hatred. Later, however, I watched the horrific YouTube of the Egyptians chasing after their own Christian neighbors and mowing them down, crushing them to death. I realized that you can’t expect much in the way of neigborliness or humanity from those willing to kill its own people like we would swat flies.

The piece that I first submitted was a good deal more satirical. The editor took out the satire. We made a tactical decision not to contest the suggested changes, as long as they left in the key line: There is more hatred in the Arab world than oil. They did.

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9 Responses

  1. Jon says:

    Mr. Cohen:

    As an Orthodox Jew, I am painfully aware of the harm that can be caused by misrepresenting truth and playing games with statistics. One need only look at the despicable literature that claims that the Holocaust never happened (or that it wasn’t as bad as it is made out to be) to see how manipulation and lies can influence people and carry terrible consequences. Along these lines, never recommend that anyone read Peters’ book, From Time Immemorial. I’m not a fan of Noam Chomsky (and definitely not Norman Finkelstein by any means) but you should read his piece on the history of that book in “Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky.” Peters’ book contains serious distortions of truth and manipulates statistics in unacceptable ways. I would never rely on Chomsky’s word alone: I personally checked Finkelstein’s analysis and he is correct.

    Find better, accurate literature to support our claims to Israel. I’m ashamed of Peters’ book, and it’s sad to see that after almost 20 years, people still refer to it.

  2. Mr. Cohen says:

    Anyone who wants to know the truth about Arabs, Muslims and Israel should read these two books:

    Churchill and the Jewsby Martin Gilbert, year 2007

    From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine
    by Joan Peters, 1984, JKAP Publications

    Those who do not have time to read two books can get quick quotes from those
    two books by joining my web site for quick Divrei Torah:
    DerechEmet

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Egypt is under a new mismanagement team (possibly to be replaced by yet worse down the road) that will be hard to motivate towards peace by mere financial considerations. Consumers should want a more secure supplier so that:

    1. No real crisis will exist
    2. No middlemen will be able to use real or fake crises to jack up prices late in the season.

  4. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Bob Miller, there are probably two reasons:

    1. Egyptian lulavs are cheaper, and usually available. Most of what Arab countries say can be discounted as empty PR.
    2. Israel wants to have as many Egyptians as possible who make money off of commerce with Israel. Those are people with a vested interest in peace.

  5. Tal Benschar says:

    Another proof for Chazal’s statement that ha Sinah mekalkeles es ha Shurah.

    The Egyptians were making a tidy profit off lulavim. Their latest antics will simply inspire Jews to look for other sources. (There was an article in this week’s NY Times about some farms in California that are starting to fill in the gap.) In the end, the Jews will still have their mitzvah, and the Egyptians will simply lose.

  6. dr. bill says:

    Bob Miller, We ews are good at commerce and the Egyptian’s price is such that my local mokher is charged about 1.50/lulav. The Israeli Deri lulav that he had this year is about $10.00/lulav. until this year there were hassles but not enough to invest against a $1.50 product from egypt.

    I hope now Israel produces in much higher quantity; the Deri product is much better halakhically (limited splitting). I only pray no one assers it because it is genetically engineered. Rumor has it, some are looking to grow in California.

    but as Rabbi Adlerstein points out, compared to their treatment of the Coptic Christians, this is just a fight among “brothers.”

  7. Bob Miller says:

    Some form of this Egyptian lulav export issue seems to show up with regularity. By now, why aren’t alternative sources of supply sufficiently developed to end dependency on Egypt, of all places? Jews are supposed to be good at commerce!

  8. Gershon says:

    “And Egypt’s obstinacy has been a boon for farmers elsewhere in the world”

    After all, with fronds like these, who needs enemies’?

    Couldn’t resist

  9. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Could you post the original piece here? I’m a big fan of political satire.