Millions of eggs land in Israel to ease Passover scramble; some flew in style
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Millions of eggs land in Israel to ease Passover scramble; some flew in style

Fragile cargo strapped into passenger seats on El Al planes, including business class, in bid to relieve national shortage that has left supermarket shelves bare ahead of festival

Screen capture from video of eggs on pallets ahead of their airlift to Israel, April 6, 2020. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video of eggs on pallets ahead of their airlift to Israel, April 6, 2020. (Twitter)

As importers rush to meet demand amid a shortage, three planeloads of eggs arrived Tuesday morning as part of an airlift to bring millions of eggs to the country before the coming Passover festival later this week.

The three planes, each carrying 45 tons of the fragile cargo, delivered some 1.8 million eggs from Europe. Another two planes are expected to arrive by next week, the Ynet website reported. In total, three million eggs will be flown to the country.

The five 787 Dreamliner jets involved are operated by national carrier El Al and in order to make best use of the available space, crates of eggs were strapped into seats usually filled by the hundreds of passengers the planes normally carry, including business class. Pallets of eggs were also loaded into the planes’ cargo bays.

Two of the planes that arrived Tuesday flew in from Lisbon, Portugal, and the third from Kyiv, Ukraine. The M. Lasser Company, which has sold eggs in Israel for over 70 years, shelled out for the deliveries, the report said.

For the past two weeks, Israelis have reported widespread egg shortages throughout the country with many supermarkets out of them entirely while others have only been allowing shoppers to purchase limited quantities.

Officials have said the shortage was not caused by supply problems, but by panic buying amid restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country that has limited Israelis to shopping close to home, and the rumors of even stricter limitations.

Eggs are a staple ingredient during Passover, which begins Wednesday, in helping mold stiff matzah into more pliable food, and families often stock up on dozens at a time for the holiday.  Hard-boiled eggs also play a traditional role at the festive seder meal.

A thriving black market in eggs has developed, potentially generating health hazards.

Last Friday, Agriculture Minister Tzachi Hanegbi ordered an increase in imports from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ukraine to restock the supply in Israel.

In addition to the airlift, 100 containers of eggs with more than 30 million eggs are on their way to the country by sea and are expected to arrive by the end of the month.

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