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Israel takes measures to ensure daily supplies amid conflict with Hamas

Published : 20 Oct 2023, 02:36

  DF News Desk
People conduct rescue work after Israeli airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Oct. 19, 2023. Photo: Xinhua by Khaled Omar.

The outbreak of the conflict with Hamas on Oct. 7 has prompted panic buying in Israel, after the military had advised citizens to store up essential commodities that could help them survive emergencies amid widespread concerns that the state of war could last for weeks if not months, reported Xinhua.

In the first few days after the conflict erupted, basic necessities such as bread, mineral water, eggs, fruit and vegetables rapidly disappeared from store shelves. However, the Israeli government, manufacturers, and supermarkets moved swiftly to address public concerns by emphasizing that there was no need for panic as warehouses had sufficient supplies.

The shortages were mainly due to logistical challenges and a large number of absent workers. The Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI) estimated that about 1.3 million workers, or nearly 30 percent of the country's workforce, did not attend work between Oct. 8 and 12. The absent workers included reserve soldiers who were called to duty, parents caring for their children due to school and kindergarten closures, and employees unable to reach their workplaces because of road closures.

To ensure the continuous production and supply of essential goods and services to residents, the MAI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Industry, launched a campaign to hire new employees. So far, they have hired more than 6,000 workers and planned to recruit many more.

Fresh vegetables, particularly tomatoes, were in short supply due to the fact that 70 percent of Israel's tomatoes were grown in the areas targetted by Hamas attacks. The Ministry of Agriculture expanded imports to solve the shortage, including a shipment of 4,500 tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables with a significant amount of tomatoes from Türkiye. These goods were unloaded at the port of Haifa.

Additionally, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced he would extend an order to lift the 40-percent customs duty on imported milk for another three months in an effort to ensure a steady milk supply. The order, effective for three months, was issued by the Israeli authorities in July to tackle a milk shortage.

Regarding global trade, the Ministry of Economy and Industry affirmed that imports and exports were continuing without significant interruptions despite the fighting, and all sea and air passages remained open.