Israel has renewed the work permits for 74 Palestinian Authority employees of the SodaStream company, opening the way for the firm to rehire its workers.
“We are delighted to welcome back our 74 devoted Palestinian employees, who are able to join their 1,500 friends at our Rahat facility in the Negev,” said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum in a statement to The Jerusalem Post. Rahat is a Negev Bedouin city, the largest in the State of Israel. SodaStream employs Bedouin Israelis as well as Jewish Israelis in its current facility.
“The Israeli government did the moral and honorable thing to grant work permits to our employees, who can now provide for their families and also prove that coexistence is possible.”
The firm was forced to move from its original site at the Mishor Adumim industrial park near the city of Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, due to the endless efforts of the international Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which finally succeeded in depriving hundreds of Arab workers of their livelihood.
At that location, 500 Palestinian Authority citizens had good jobs with salaries at the same rate and benefits equal to those of their 800 Jewish Israeli coworkers.
But the move in October 2015 meant a layoff of all but 74 citizens from the Palestinian Authority, and those, too, were at last let go in February 2016 when their work permits ran out. Birnbaum vowed to rehire them as soon as the permits were renewed, and this week he kept his promise.
Earlier this year, SodaStream produced a new label bearing a large Israeli flag with the words, MADE IN ISRAEL for all of its packaging.
Below the flag is the SodaStream message: “This product is made by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony.”