Corona didn't cause a shortage of eggs; wrong corrupted protectionist policies did.
Eggs are under the strict control of the Eggs and the Poultry Board, a socialist institution dating back to the creation of the State. Each year, the board composed of selected farmers decide how many eggs to produced and at which price to sell them. This board is hermetically protected from international and local competition by regulation and exclusive arrangements with the government.
The cost of protectionism and corrupted regulations are very high for Israelis citizens. According to the OECD (1), Israeli producers charged customers an "extra" 16% above the international price of eggs by forbidding imports and turning local farmers into criminals. Overall, consumers and taxpayers transferred 700 million NIS to eggs' producers since 2013, an average of more than 100 million a year.
The demand for eggs is always much higher during this period of the year when Israel celebrates Pesach, Easter, and the start of Ramadan. The Egg Board usually requests a special permit to import eggs and distribute them to customers (on their terms). This year, because of the COVID-19, the shortage is enormous and Israelis are plastering pictures of empty egg shelves on social media.
If the government cared about its citizens, it would open the market to imports and allow local citizens to operate a farm to produce eggs. Today, this activity is criminal!
Citizens like Rafi Dayan, an entrepreneur who struggled for the right to have an organic chicken farm, aren't criminals. Unfortunately, the Egg board, in his strict Soviet-style, declared Rafi's eggs "illegal" and arrived at his farm on January 19 to take by force all his chickens and eggs.
Instead of relaxing those insane regulations, what did the government do?
In Elad, a small community, Israeli police saw a truck selling eggs without a permit; they destroyed the eggs, fined the truck owner, leaving many local customers very perplexed. Subsequently, the police called on the public not to buy eggs from unknown sources warning to a public health risk. Egg without permits aren't more dangerous than other eggs; their only fault is to be outside of the quota defined by the egg board.
Instead of giving a few Israelis the right to sell eggs, Agriculture Minister Tzachi Hanegbi went shopping for eggs in Russia and sponsored a 10 million NIS flight to bring the eggs before the night of the Seder on Wednesday. So far, no eggs have reached Israel, and it is doubtful that they will.
It is quite puzzling to live in a country that experiences basic food item shortages regularly. In January, butter was nowhere to be found; this week, it's eggs. The Corona only worsens the shortages; they preceded the virus and will continue past this crisis.
It is time to demand from our politicians to dismantled the Food Boards and open Israel agriculture to international and local competition.
(1) - Monitoring and evaluation: Single commodity indicators,