Israeli cops keep crowd from going nuts over egg shortage

Police scramble to break up egg-crazed crowd after shoppers in Rishon Letzion get word of shipment arriving at local stores during shortage.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Police were called in to control a crowd of shoppers Sunday when word got out that two local grocery stores received a shipment of eggs – a commodity in short supply as Israelis remain homebound due to the coronavirus crisis.

Officers arrived at the stores in Rishon Lezion, just south of Tel Aviv, after local residents started congregating when news spread that a truckload of eggs was on the way, Ynet reported.

With most Israelis off work and at home due to the epidemic, consumption of eggs has skyrocketed leading to a country-wide shortage for the past two weeks. Many supermarkets are restricting purchases to one or two dozen at a time, but are running out quickly nonetheless.

When shoppers crowded outside the stores, police set up a line and demanded they comply with social distancing regulations to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus. The shoppers did comply and kept the required safe distance, but within a few hours both stores had sold out and the crowds dispersed.

Although Israel has a well-developed egg industry and usually self-sufficient, the stay-at-home order that led to panic buying and hoarding of toilet paper also got Israelis scrambling for eggs. A statement last week from the prime minister’s office noted that two of Israel’s major foreign egg suppliers are Spain and Italy – the European countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

To help satiate the market demand, millions of eggs are being imported from Europe and Ukraine. A million eggs were flown in from Portugal and millions more were arriving by sea from Ukraine, Spain and France in time for the week-long Passover holiday that begins Wednesday evening.

More cargo planes loaded with eggs are due to land before Passover, but there still might be an estimated shortage of up to 30 million eggs, Channel 12 reported.