Smuggler With 228 Esrogim Arrested at Ben Gurion Airport


esrogimA French national has been arrested trying to enter the country with fragrant contraband, it was announced Monday. The smuggler arrived Sunday at Ben Gurion International Airport on a flight from Paris with two suitcases full of esrogim. Officials said the man tried to pass through the airport without declaring the esrogim to customs authorities.

The man said he planned to sell the 228 “top quality” esrogim for the upcoming Yom Tov of Sukkos. The esrogim, weighing a total of 128 pounds, was confiscated and turned over to the Agriculture Ministry.

Last year, more than 300 esrogim were seized at the airport from an Israeli couple who tried to smuggle them in, also on a flight from Paris.

Like most countries, Israel regulates the import of agricultural products. Both the esrog and the lulav are fresh agricultural products and are thus subject to these regulations.

This year, the Agriculture Ministry has advised travelers that it is permissible to bring in an esrog, but only one per passenger, and it must be declared before entry. The fruit may also be visually inspected in order to prevent the entry of contagious lesions and pests into the country, a ministry official said in a statement.

Lulavs, hadassim and aravos will not be allowed, and will be confiscated upon arrival.

Israeli authorities said last month they had managed to avert a shortage in lulavim, despite a last-minute announcement by Egypt that it would not allow exports of lulavim this year.

“The damage caused [by smuggling]… is manifested in a number of ways for which the entire population will pay a high price, including direct damage to humans and animals… harm to agricultural production, closure of the export market and damage to the environment and to quality of life,” said the statement.

Failure to follow the rules could also result in a large fine, ministry officials warned.

Read more at Arutz Sheva.

{Arutz Sheva/ Newscenter}


  1. These were probably esrogim from Morroco, which some prefer to use to perform the mitzvah with.

    As there is no way of bringing them directly from Morrocco, the easiest way is to bring them in via France.

    The Israeli government knows that these are high quality esrogim and are free of infestation, yet they try to interfere with the mitzvah performance of the religious population.