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June 28, 2012 1:18 pm

Israeli Hashish Prices Double Following Brotherhood Victory in Egypt

avatar by Ezriel Gelbfish

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Bar of hashish. Photo: www.topyaps.com.

The price of Moroccan hashish in Israel has risen dramatically, following tighter border restrictions instituted by politically agitated Egypt, representing a significant crossroads for the Levant’s illegal cannabis trade, Israel Channel 2 News reports. Egypt’s borders with Sudan and Libya, straddling a crucial North African drug route, have been reinforced by the Egyptian army, resulting down the line in a shortage of hashish filtering through to Israel.

Israeli Magan Commander Noam Kaiser says that, “A severe dryness of Moroccan hashish exists in Egypt. In recent months the amount of hashish smuggled into Israel has been significantly reduced…it is difficult to find Moroccan hashish in the Israeli drug market.”

Moroccan hashish, which differs from its Indian or Afghani relatives in color and taste, is considered one of the highest quality strains of cannabis available, and according to a Guardian-reported World Customs Organization, accounts for 70% of Europe’s multi-billion dollar hashish market. Alternately known by a variety of street names like kif, charas, and shif, the hashish is smuggled by truck across Africa and into Egypt, from which drug traffickers can gain access to Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, and Israel. The estimated half a ton of hashish that is smuggled annually into Israel is in part networked through Ramat Chovav, an industrial zone in southern Israel that in recent years has seen several dozen arrests of drivers and organizers associated with the drug trade.

The hashish drought has doubled the drug’s price in Israel in four months, from $2,500 a kilogram to about $5,000, representing an unprecedented sum for the Israeli hashish market. Egypt has had its own shortages of hashish, including two years ago, dubbed “the Great Hash Crisis.” But according to some, the current government crackdown is unique because it is attributable to the rise in power of the Muslim Brotherhood, who advocate strict abstinence from all intoxicants, in accordance with Sharia Law.

The news about the Israeli drug trade is especially resonant following Iranian Vice-President Mohammed-Reza Rahimi’s comically-regarded statement on Tuesday that Jews sell, but never use, illegal drugs. At the UN International Day against Drug Abuse, Rahimi declared “The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anyone who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade.”

Comments by Alan Dershowitz published by The Algemeiner on Rahimi’s recent speech can be found here.

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