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Agudath Intervention Leads to Agriculture Department Approval of Israeli Ethrogim

Intervention by Agudath Israel has resulted in blocking a probable ban on the importation of ethrogim from Israel. The ethrogim are used in Sukkot observances. United States Department of Agriculture regulations had in effect, banned the import by requiring the fumigation of all citrus fruits from the Middle East in order to protect the American citrus crop from possible infestation by the Mediterranean fruit fly. Because of its sensitive nature, fumigation of the ethrog peel would have rendered it unfit for ritual use.

The use by American Jews of Israeli ethrogim was agreed to by Agriculture Department officials after proposal of an interim plan by Rabbi Moshe Sherer, executive president of Agudath Israel, calling for an examination of them in Israel by American and Israeli inspectors before shipment. Rabbi Sherer proposed that chemical testing should begin now to develop a fumigant by 1969 that would not harm the ethrog skin.