A shipment of 20,000 date palm fronds were trucked Monday from the Gaza Strip to Israel where they were to be sold for use in a traditional Jewish religious ritual during the coming Sukkot holiday, the Defense Ministry said.
A closed palm frond, known in Hebrew as a lulav, is gathered along with myrtle stalks, willow stalks, and the fruit of the citron tree to make up the “Four Species” that are bundled together, as instructed in Leviticus 23:40, for use during the week-long holiday that begins on Wednesday night.
The local Israeli District Coordination and Liaison Office (DCO) arranged with Palestinian Authority officials for the shipment to arrive through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, the main conduit for goods transfers between the Palestinian territory and Israel.
“Alongside the thousands of tons of fruit and vegetables every week, we also coordinate unusual shipments like this one, that made its way to every part of the country,” said Uri Madar, agriculture coordinator at the DCO, Channel 10 reported.
“Blessings will be said in Israel on thousands of lulavs produced in Gaza, and that is just an example of the steps that we are taking here every day of the year, measures that are good for agriculture, and good for markets on both sides, the Israeli and Palestinian,” Madar added.
The items needed to complete the Four Species are sold at street markets all over Israel in the days leading up to Sukkot.
Ami Shaked, director of the Kerem Shalom crossing, said some 800 trucks move back and forth between Israel and Gaza every day carrying goods in both directions.
“As with every shipment, and especially with agricultural produce, we keep to a a policy of quick transfer to preserve the freshness of the produce,” he said, according to the Channel 10 report. “After a procedure of checks at the crossing, the lulavs were transferred to a trader and from there to markets all over Israel.”