The Shmooze

The Upside of Volcanic Ash: Dirt-Cheap Flowers in Israel

By Nathan Jeffay

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In every international crisis, natural or man-made, there are winners. Often they are cynical self-serving business folk who profit from the misery of others, but here in Israel, those benefiting from the recent grounding of flights due to volcanic ash are members of the general public.

You may know that on a daily basis Israel exports large numbers of flowers to Europe, the continent where the volcanic ash was disrupting flights. During the chaos of the ash, flower growers tried taking their flowers to Greece by boat and then looking for onward connections, but failed.

The long and short of it is that there were millions of flowers that didn’t make it for export, and even now that flights have restarted there is a backlog.

Now of course, this is a disaster for flower growers, who estimate losses at $5.3 million and are now asking for compensation from the state. But for members of the general public, it means a domestic market flooded with cheap flowers, and hence sweet-smelling homes and happy partners.

So, my wife has more flowers than she’s ever seen — which kind of makes up for the fact that the ash also meant that her in-laws’ visit from Britain was, let’s just say, rather longer than expected.


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