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Protesting Israeli farmers damage Lebanon border fence

CM 17/08/2021

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About a thousand farmers from around the country demonstrated on Tuesday in the town of Avivim near the Lebanese border, in protest of the reform of food imports in the Arrangements Bill. During the protest, the farmers approached the border and confronted the IDF and Israel Police Special Patrol Unit who tried to prevent them from sabotaging the fence.

The IDF said that “during demonstrations in the Avivim area, a number of demonstrators sabotaged the border fence, crossed it a few meters into an enclave in Israeli territory and were immediately returned by police forces. No crossing of the border into Lebanese territory took place. IDF forces are deployed in the area and are assisting Israel Police in maintaining order.”
Following previous demonstrations, farmers called on the government to reach an agreement and not act unilaterally. “The reform of the finance and agriculture ministers will result in the elimination of agriculture in Israel, will not lower prices for citizens – but will only enrich the retail chains and importers,” said Avshalom Vilan, secretary-general of the Israel Farmers’ Federation.
“Instead of dealing with the real problems – the piggish profit of the retail chains, which make billions and sell the agricultural produce at double and three times the price the farmer receives, and in the mediation gaps (the gap between the farmer’s price and the retail price) that make prices more expensive, the ministers choose to harm the egg, fruits and vegetables farmers,” he claimed.
“Growth quotas are an economic asset and the government cannot just take them, on a whim and without compensation for farmers who will immediately lose their livelihoods. We are not against change, but not like that – without dialogue and within the framework of the Arrangements Bill.”
The chairman of the Israel Farmers’ Federation and the secretary-general of the Moshavim movement, Amit Yifrach, reinforced his remarks. “We, the farmers who guard the borders of the state, will not allow the state to abandon our livelihood, of thousands of families on the northern or southern border. We are the human Iron Dome of settlement within the state’s borders. And it is precisely us that the State of Israel is sacrificing on the altar of the mediation gaps in which we are not to blame at all.”
“It is not possible for the Israeli government to abandon the farmers of the state or its citizens in a dangerous reform so that we become dependent on the graces of importers. Reform in agriculture is done in dialogue and agreements not in assumptions in the Arrangements Law,” he stressed.
Last month, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Agriculture Minister Oded Forer announced the huge reform in agriculture, the main goal of which is to increase competition in the industry by opening up the fruit and vegetable market to import and cancel planning in the egg industry. This is within the framework of the structural changes accompanying the budget for the years 2021-2022.
Under the reform, increasing imports of fruits, vegetables and eggs will be made possible by gradually eliminating tariffs on a five-year outline and immediately eliminating tariffs on products such as eggs, avocados, garlic, peas, figs, artichokes and more. At the same time, the regulation of fruit and vegetable imports through European standard adoption will be reduced. On the other hand, the reform proposes a change in the structure of support for agriculture – from indirect support to direct support, as is the practice in many OECD countries.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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