The Israel Pavilion at the IBC 2015 exhibition at RAI Amsterdam is making a “kiddush Hashem” – a sanctification of God’s Name – before the Nations this year, and showing what a Jewish nation is really all about.
Economy Minister Arye Deri ordered the closure of the pavilion in accordance with the holy Sabbath, and for the Holy Days of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.
This means the pavilion will be open for two of the five days of the exhibition, which runs from Friday, Sept. 11 through Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Last Thursday, the Israeli companies presenting products at the pavilion of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute were notified they will be allowed to exhibit on Friday and Sunday. Israeli business people will be able to hold meetings with potential clients at the exhibition on these two days as well.
Secular Israeli media is presenting this issue as a major disaster for Israeli business, of course, and complaining that the minister is seriously damaging the 18 Israeli companies who are to present at the exhibition.
“Israel’s image as the ‘Startup Nation’ will also suffer a blow when clients find its pavilion in one of the main halls of the exhibition closed,” worried Ynet in an article on Tuesday.
But Deri has already agreed to compensate those companies presenting in the exhibition who suffer damages from the closure.
Yet Minister of Social Services Chaim Katz, also complained bitterly, calling Deri’s decision a “serious violation of the freedom of occupation… it sends Israel light years back.”
Others claimed it would cause “irreversible damage.”
Vibe Israel CEO Joanna Landau sent Deri a letter saying the decision shows “without a shadow of a doubt that the State of Israel’s image is not a top priority for the Israeli government.”
Deri pointed out that coordination for the pavilion was completed before he took office.
However, he said, “since [the exhibition] is taking place on holy days and on Shabbat, which are sacred to the people of Israel and during which there is no official Israeli state activity, Israel’s pavilion will not be operating on these days.”Hana Levi Julian