Rep. Berman pushes Egypt to free palm leaf exports as Sukkot holiday nears

"Given that Egypt is one of the world's largest supplier of lulavs, an export ban imposed so close to Sukkot may lead to shortages or extreme price spikes — causing financial hardship for families and communities simply wishing to fulfill their religious obligations," Berman wrote.

Berman added that while he understands that Egypt has a right to manage its own resources, Egypt in prior years has given more advance notice of these bans. He also said he hoped the ban was not a form of retaliation against Israel.

"In light of the recent tensions between Egypt and Israel, there is a widespread perception that the reported ban on lulav exports was imposed for purely political reasons," he wrote. "I sincerely hope this is not the case, for such a restriction could deprive a very large number of Jewish people around the world — including many of my constituents in Los Angeles — of lulavs used in religious services."

A spokeswoman for Berman said the Egyptian government had not replied to the letter as of this week.