Israeli Farmers Protest Lack of Imported Farm Help by Withholding Local Produce

"israel farm protest"Which is a bigger environmental sin – imported produce or imported farmers?

For the past few days Israeli farmers have been protesting a governmental decision to cut the amount of foreign workers legally permitted to come work in the agricultural sector, with the demonstration planned to continue tomorrow as well. 

The growers have been demonstrating in several junctions across the country, and their most significant act of protest has been to cut off the supply of vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, fresh fish and poultry to markets and supermarkets all over the country throughout the duration of the three-day strike.  Essentially, the farmers are asking that more imported farmers hands be allowed to work so that they can continue to supply the Israeli public with fresh, local produce.

They are asking the government to reverse a decision that would make it extremely difficult for Israelis to be locavores.

A year and a half ago the government agreed that they would increase the quota of foreign farm hands from 22,000 to 26,000 – a promise that has yet to be kept.  Avshalom Vilan, the Secretary-General of the Israeli Farmers Federation, said that “the government promised us the workers a year and a half ago and never delivered.  Why should we believe them now?”

Fresh, local produce is what’s better for the environment by a long shot.  All the energy and fossil fuels that go into packaging and transporting food from foreign countries is extremely polluting, and totally unnecessary for a country like Israel that is able to grow most of its own produce.

It is a little ironic, though, that the farm hands can’t seem to be local as well.  Most immigrant farm workers come from Thailand, since Israelis apparently lack a desire to work in agriculture.

:: Jerusalem Post

Image via: David Shankbone

Read more about some of the farms supplying local (and organic) goods to Israel::
Rom Farm Brings Organic Goat Cheese to a Table Near You, With Some Help from the Handicapped
Israel’s Organic “Goats with the Wind” Farm is Delicious Eco-Tourism
Tel Aviv Has a Farm, E-I-E-I-O

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2 thoughts on “Israeli Farmers Protest Lack of Imported Farm Help by Withholding Local Produce”

  1. Isaac says:

    Intense. This has been a growing issue for years now.

    The interesting thing is this could be solved by local workers, as you note. Its been my feeling for some time that the orthodox community could supply the manpower – having half a day in kollel and a half day in the field, which could be a win-win. The farmers would get the help they need and the orthodox community would get a hands on education about the land of Israel as well additional income to support their large families.

    1. That’s a wonderful solution! Maybe you can get the ball rolling?

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