On Wednesday, SodaStream International continued its tradition of hosting Israel’s largest Ramadan break-fast (Iftar) event, this time virtually, for more than 2,000 families, making it one the largest Iftar events in the world.
The company distributed thousands of food baskets to their Muslim workers in advance of the event, which included a ceremonial meal, blessings from a local imam and a live concert from Jewish-Arab duo Dudu Aharon and Sharif.
SodaStream’s home since 2015, Rahat, is a Bedouin village, 14 miles from the Gaza border in the Negev desert. At this facility, 2,000 people from a range of religious, national and cultural backgrounds, including Jews and Arabs, work side by side in peace and harmony. The factory has dubbed itself the “Island of Peace.”
Back in 2016, the SodaStream plant in Lehavim, which stood just a couple of miles on the wrong side of the 1949 armistice border, a.k.a. the green line, was forced to lay off its remaining 74 Arab workers and close down. The BDS coordinator for the PA, one Mahmoud Nawaja’a, called the loss of the jobs at SodaStream “part of the price that should be paid in the process of ending the occupation.”
Cry, crocodile, cry.
In 2015, the European Union’s labeling requirements forced Israeli companies to indicate whether their products were made in areas outside of pre-1967 Israel. So, eventually, SodaStream had to dump its Palestinian workers and opt for new, Bedouin employees.
Island of Peace, indeed.
CEO of SodaStream International Eyal Shohat said: “This year, like every year, we are delighted to host our traditional Ramadan Iftar event, which has become a symbol of peace, brotherhood and coexistence. Just as we have not allowed the coronavirus to stop the company’s activities, we have made sure that this event goes ahead for thousands of families, who will participate remotely via Zoom. SodaStream is always proud to spread the message of peace, brotherhood and coexistence from Israel to the rest of the world.”
And, naturally, a dash of surrender to the BDS movement, to enhance the flavor.