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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Mishor Adumim’

Controversy Bubbles Up in SodaStream Bid to Leave Samaria

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.

The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.

That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.

But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.

With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.

One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.

But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”

The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.

But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.

But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.

Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.

Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.

Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.

Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.

BDS Tries to Keep Israel’s SodaStream Out of Super Bowl

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

As cheerleaders shake their pom poms, top-dollar players hone their victory dances, and marketers prepare to rake in the dough raised through advertising and sales, Super Bowl XLVII will not just showcase a rivalry between this year’s best winningest football teams, but stands to highlight a burgeoning campaign against Israeli life in the biblical heartland.

SodaStream, an Israeli maker of home soda machines, aims to place its first advertisements in the US during the upcoming Super Bowl, according to an article by the Associated Press.  Aiming to make it big in the United States, SodaStream – the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of home beverage coronation systems – seems to be a natural choice for Americans who want easy convenience, lower costs, and an effortless way to take part in protecting the environment by reducing the number of plastic bottles produced to hold their drinks.  The company is willing to stake a lot of money on that possibility – $3.5 million, the amount it takes to purchase just 30 seconds of advertising time during the Super Bowl.

And while simple consumerism might assure SodaStream a steady stream of sales, pro-Palestinian activists are working to ensure that SodaStream fizzles out.

Soda Stream is produced in Mishor Adumim, according to the AP, an industrial zone adjacent to Maale Adumim, a Jewish community in the Judean desert which has gained notoriety recently for its proximity to Israel’s latest building project, E-1.

“The new SodaStream publicity blitz has given the US boycott, divestment, sanctions movement a marvelous opportunity to bring our campaigns targeting settlement products to a new, unprecedented level of visibility and success,” said Anna Baltzer, an organizer of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation in the AP report.

Though Israeli products enjoy success in the US and Europe, the massive international campaign encouraging governments, companies, and private citizens to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel has enjoyed limited success, winning an EU case stopping products made in Judea and Samaria from enjoying the same duty free status as products made in other parts of Israel, and convincing the United Kingdom to ban a SodaStream TV ad on the pretense that it disparaged other soda manufacturers.

For his part, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum says he’s “got to laugh” thinking he’s a target of pro-Palestinian activists, telling the AP that his company provides jobs and economic benefits to many Palestinians workers.

Supermarket Epiphanies in Israel

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

So what was I doing behind six shopping carts at the local Shufersal Deal supermarket in Mishor Adumim on a Friday morning? After all, as far as I’m concerned, hell hath no more infuriating nadir than being stuck in that place at that time.

But I had no choice: We had returned from a long overseas trip on Thursday evening and if we wanted to eat on Shabbat, it was the Friday grocery zoo or bust. I hadn’t kept up fully on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new coalition or President Shimon Peres’s American trip, but one blaring newspaper headline had reached me before I got home to Ma’aleh Adumim: “Shufersal Deal out to murder [competitor] Rami Levi.”

A take-no-prisoners price war had broken out, apparently, which even a friend in distant Pisgat Ze’ev gushed, was attracting her weekly to one or the other emporium in our town.

My worst fears were instantly confirmed. The usually bare parking lot had overflowed onto adjacent streets stretching three blocks in every direction.

The glazed expressions of entering consumers mirrored the grim fatalism of soldiers about to enter battle, while the jubilant looks of the exiting victors towing ridiculously filled carts reflected raw, gluttonous triumphalism.

There I was, in dire gloom, cart frozen well distant from the cash register. I was sorely aggrieved. Until I remembered a flash of soul-searching during my flight when I promised I would try to improve my grumpiness a bit and seek alleged silver linings even in dismal circumstances (I get weird thoughts, and also swollen ankles, on 10-hour flights). What could I do save give my commitment the old college try.

Here are the observations that ensued during the next 40 minutes.

The Holocaust 

A few decades ago, our people faced starvation in the ghetto and worse in the camps. The images haunt us to this day.

And here, in Mishor Adumim, hundreds of Jews in shorts and sandals, were inundated with fine, healthy, nutritious food… at cutthroat rates, priced to put a nearby competitor out of business. What a remarkable, epiphanous and profound change. No joke – I would say it borders on miraculous when seen in this light.

Law and order 

Not usually an attribute associated with Israeli social norms, but here we were. A nasty environment, crowded and frustrating… yet I couldn’t help but notice how everyone, without exception, stayed calm (even resigned), didn’t shout, didn’t whine, didn’t act like babies. It was downright civilized. It disproved the global image that “Israelis do not know how to stand in line.”

Respecting the different 

I saw two handicapped people. One was a Down Syndrome child with his dad. The other a severely handicapped woman navigating the maze with difficulty, burdened by two crutches and a cart. No stares. No averted glances. No looks of pity or annoyance. As naturally as could be, the carts parted, Red Sea-style, as everyone readily made way and moved aside and even smiled…not grudgingly or artificially, but naturally. It was nice to see.

The peace process 

I know crass consumerism can’t bridge the entire Arab- Israeli divide, but there is something to be said about the commonality of getting a good bargain.

Arab women, covered albeit in festive demeanor, husbands, babies… they were all well-represented. Again, it might not be the magic formula, but a vibrant economy in which all parties reap the benefits can clearly encourage a peaceful attitude far quicker and more seriously than umpteen squawking talks around conference tables.

What would generic observations be without, ultimately, a final test. After the 50-minute marathon wait, I received my own personal test.

The lost hour of course meant that we missed the final home delivery.

Now that wasn’t fair, I thought, eyeing our 18 bags of groceries. Our first inclination was to yell it out with the manager and insist on our “rights.” I duly dispatched my “personal commando,” i.e., my wife, dutifully escorted by the cash register guy, but suddenly all my positive thoughts flooded back and I realized this was a defining moment.

Dare I make those five carts now lined up behind me wait for 10 minutes of silly arguing, or should I just forget about it? I canceled the fight and decided that three trips up and down three flights of stairs were preferable to making those folks behind me wait even one minute longer.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/supermarket-epiphanies-in-israel/2012/07/03/

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