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Agriculture Department, Israel Work out New Arrangement on Importation of Esrog

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The Department of Agriculture has worked out a new arrangement with Israel on importing the Esrog (citron) from Israel for use during the coming Sukkot holiday which is less cumbersome than the method used last year to assure that the citron is free from the Mediterranean fruit fly, the Agudath Israel of America reported today. Rabbi Morris Sherer, executive president of the Orthodox group, called the agreement a “model example of international goodwill to amicably resolve a religious problem.”

The problem developed last year from an Agriculture Department regulation banning the importation of citrus fruits from the Middle East unless fumigated, which would have made it virtually impossible for American Jews to observe the holiday properly. Rabbi Sherer said. He negotiated an agreement with Agriculture Department officials under which a department representative worked in Israel to supervise inspection of the Esrog after a 10-day incubation period prior to shipment overseas. The new agreement accepts certification of the Israel Government’s plant protection division which will examine each Esrog while the U.S. Government reserves the right to re-inspect any Esrog on arrival. Rabbi Sherer said Chaim Ouziel, economic attache at the Israel Embassy in Washington, worked with the Agriculture Department to achieve the agreement.

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