Fear of fruit: Azerbaijani produce gifted to Israeli delegation dumped

The Agriculture Ministry destroyed more than 10 crates of fruits and vegetables that were gifted to Herzog's entourage from the Azerbaijani president, due to concerns of contamination

The Azerbaijani presidential palace showered the Israeli delegation, led by President Isaac Herzog, with numerous gifts, including rugs, handmade tea cups and other souvenirs. On top of that, a surprise awaited the delegation upon boarding the plane to return home last week, where crates filled with the finest Azerbaijani produce were neatly placed on the seats.
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The locals take great pride in their organic fruits and vegetables, known for their wonderful, non-engineered taste. Among the gifted produce were peaches, plums, apples, lemons and cucumbers, along with jams and jars of honey.
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The Azerbaijani gift of produce had to be destroyed
The Azerbaijani gift of produce had to be destroyed
The Azerbaijani gift of produce had to be destroyed
(Photo: Itamar Eichner)
Mid-flight, Israir Airlines warned Herzog's entourage that it is mandatory to inform the Agriculture Ministry about the presence of the fresh produce crates. After landing, the president's staff immediately contacted the ministry and, following consultations, it was decided that there was no choice but to dispose of the crates due to the established procedures in Israel.
The Ministry of Agriculture stated: "Upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, the head of the presidential delegation contacted the supervisors of the Agriculture Ministry with the aim of arranging the treatment of the gift. As is customary with any shipment that arrives unarranged and without prior inspections, the supervisors decided to destroy the produce due to the risk of contamination and the potential entry of pests and diseases into the agricultural fields of Israel. The entry of fruits and vegetables without a prior inspection could introduce potentially irreversible damage to agriculture, plants, and human and animal health."
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