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Farmers Beset by Economic Woes Send Protest Convoy to Jerusalem

A convoy of about 50 buses was expected to make its way from Galilee to Jerusalem on Monday, with hundreds of irate farmers demanding relief from their dire financial situation.

The farmers, from moshavim and other cooperative settlements near the Lebanon border, say they cannot make ends meet under present economic conditions.

Poultry farming and fruit growing are the mainstays of the area. The farmers, who are on strike, are asking for increased government subsidies and higher ceilings on the price of eggs and agricultural produce.

The convoy to Jerusalem was timed to coincide with a Knesset discussion of egg overproduction. The eggs are a glut on the market, according to the Poultry and Egg Marketing Board, and the surplus has to be exported to places as distant as the Far East, at a big loss.

Many of the settlements have been without water for days, because they cannot pay their bills to the Mekorot Water Co. They are also unable to pay for agricultural supplies and personal items.

There were riots Sunday at Moshav Ya’ara, which has been hard hit. Tempers flared and residents clashed with police because of several recent suicides by farmers overwhelmed by debt.

The farmers at Ya’ara left the main northern border road littered with barricades of burning tires and overturned farm carts.

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