Israel Sees Shortage of Fresh Chicken Due to Muslim Holiday

Employees of many slaughterhouses are Muslim and have been off work for the Id al-Adha holiday; shortage expected to worsen in coming days.

Fresh chicken at a supermarket in Israel.
Eyal Toueg

The shortage of fresh chicken that began on Wednesday at grocery stores around Israel is expected to worsen Thursday and continue into the beginning of next week, food retailers said.

Customers looking for fresh chicken at supermarkets and butcher shops often came up empty on Wednesday because many employees of slaughterhouses are Muslim and have been off work for four days for the Id al-Adha holiday.

Some slaughterhouses are also closed for the festival.

Supermarket chains said that because they last received supplies of fresh chicken on Monday, many of their stores have already run out. Stores that still have the poultry are expected to run out by this afternoon.

The shortage is expected to be at its worst Sunday, and to be resolved by late morning Monday.

“Every year there is a shortage of fresh chicken during this period,” said a senior executive at a major food retail chain. “It’s very fortunate that this year the Muslim holidays fall two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, when there’s increased demand for fresh chicken.”