Israel’s Dairy Products in Short Supply

in Life, Culture & Sports

Last year it was butter that suddenly disappeared from the shelves of Israeli supermarkets; now it’s milk, which ran out on many shelves during September. The reason for this is that the Israeli dairy market suffers from two things. One is that the market is highly controlled and subject to the complicated requirements of kashrut, the law that determines what is deemed kosher or not in the country.

Photo Credit: KHC

Two is that when it comes to dairy products, there is basically a planned economy in Israel. The price that manufacturers pay farmers for raw milk is set by law. The number of dairy farmers is not based on demand and supply, but is determined annually by the Ministry of Agriculture. The so-called Israel Dairy Board plans the market and sets the quotas for the farmers. Critics of the system have long been demanding that quotas and planning be abolished and that dairy farmers be subsidized directly.

Add to this, as mentioned, that kosher laws are one of the main reasons why food is so expensive in Israel. The chief rabbinate does not allow dairy manufacturers to work on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays. In concrete terms, this means that milking may take place under certain circumstances (only by machines or non-Jews), but further production does not take place. Since many of the autumn holidays such as Rosh HaShana and Sukkot fell in the middle of the week this year, there were few actual production days overall. The result was empty supermarket shelves. Here, too, there is an urgent need for a new concept.

Based in the startup city of Tel Aviv, Zo Flamenbaum is a writer and social entrepreneur who dedicates her time to mission-driven projects that empower connection between the many diverse layers of our world. In 2014, she founded School of Shine as a value-based educational space for women who are tired of the ‘default life’ and crave personal freedom through self-expression for more purposeful living.

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