After Shunning Europe, Russia Turning to Israel for Fruit Imports

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An Israeli Clementine orange.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Russia is interested in increasing its fruit imports from Israel, after deciding to boycott imports from Europe as part of the ongoing diplomatic spat between Russia and the West.

This development comes as buyers in Gaza, Jordan and some European nations have started refusing to buy Israeli mangoes due to Operation Protective Edge. Most recently, a buyer for a supermarket chain in Montreal announced that it would not be buying Israeli fruit.

Amir Porat, marketing manager for Adom Fruits, which exports primarily pomegranate and mango, said that as opposed to the Montreal buyer, his buyers in Canada are still interested in Israeli produce.

“My customer is happy to receive Israeli products, he’s clearly pro-Israel and very satisfied with the produce,” said Porat. He acknowledged that not all Canadians may feel that way, however.

Due to the tension between Russia and Europe, and Russia’s decision to halt imports from Europe, Israel has been asked to increase exports of fruits, specifically apples and plums, said Porat.

“Unfortunately, the Russian market isn’t a big consumer of mangoes, so it can’t replace the declining demand from Europe,” said Porat.

Porat noted that lower European demand could be tied to an excess of produce there created by the Russian boycott, and not necessarily due to anti-Israel sentiments in Europe.

Meanwhile, Israeli importers and exporters are reconsidering ties with Turkey as relations with that nation sour.

The Foreign Ministry has recommended against flights to Turkey, and businesses are reconsidering their ties there. While Turkish businesses have said they are interested in continuing to work with Israelis, some Israelis are considering leaving the Turkish market, particularly importers and exporters of medical equipment.

“You can’t keep up a relationship by e-mail and phone,” said Eli Cohen, CEO of Termokir Industries, which imports gypsum, a construction material, from Turkey.

Cohen said he recently canceled two work trips to Turkey.

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