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    Agriculture Ministry seeks 'natural disaster' status for storm
    Week-long torrential rain storm, frost cause industry damage estimated at tens of millions of shekels; ministry seeks to ensure farmers are compensated

    Israel's farmers suffered significant damage due to last week's heavy rainfall and frost, and the Agriculture Ministry is now seeking to ensure they be compensated.


    Yossi Yishai, the ministry's director general said that he will advise the government to declare last week's torrential rains a "natural disaster," in accordance with Israel's Natural Disaster Compensation Act.


    The law, which was introduced in 1989, says that the ministry can recommend that the government appropriate special funds to compensate farmers whose crops were destroyed by extreme weather.


    Yishai toured various agricultural land damaged by the storm on Thursday and reportedly ordered ministry officials to draw up a brief to that effect immediately after, so that it may be presented in the next cabinet meeting.


    The ministry said that it will also try to expedite any damage claims filed by farmers whose crops were damaged by the storm.


    The extent of the damage to the agricultural industry has yet to be quantified, but initial assessments peg it at tens of millions of shekels.


    Former MK Avshalom Vilan, who heads the Farmers Association, urged the government to declare the storm a natural disaster, saying it dealt the industry a crippling blow.





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