Some Israelis — many, in fact — will celebrate the holiday of Sukkot this year holding their four species bound with holders produced in the Gaza Strip.
Ahead of the Jewish holiday, the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) has approved the import of tens of thousands of four species holders, used for the traditional customs of the holiday.
The four species – the etrog, a citron fruit; the lulav, a frond of a date palm; the hadas, a myrtle bough; and the aravah, a willow branch – are the species the Jewish people are commanded to bind together during the holiday.
The holders are made out of dried palm leaves, woven into a shape that allows the four species to be held together comfortably during the holiday prayers. The abundance of palm trees in Gaza, as well as cheap labor, makes the enclave a prime location for the production of the holders.
Despite the growing tension between Hamas, the terror group that controls Gaza and Israel, COGAT was able to facilitate the import successfully, passing it through the Kerem Shalom Crossing under heavy security inspection.
Ori Madar, who is in charge of coordination with Gaza involving agriculture, said Thursday that the import demonstrates the potential for economic cooperation that could be beneficial to both Gazans and Israelis.
“On Sukkot, we pray that peace will be brought upon us. This is a great example of the kind of steps we are taking all year round,” Madar said.
“They are good for agriculture, and can be positive for both the Gazan and the Israeli markets,” he added.