Photo Credit: Flash 90
PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta (R) and SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum in Tel Aviv, August 20, 2018.

Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum has announced that his company is planning to open a factory in Gaza.

Birnbaum made the announcement Thursday at the Globes Business Conference in Jerusalem, saying that diversity is a central value at the company.

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PepsiCo purchased Sodastream, which makes machines to create carbonated water at home from simple tap water, for $3.2 billion. It was PepsiCo’s largest acquisition in nearly a decade. At the Globes Business Conference, Pepsi CEO Ramon Laguarta said the company’s founder, Don Kendall, valued the principle that “business bridges cultures.

“When there are problems, business can really bridge differences and create sustainable relationships. Kendall put that to work when he opened the Russian market to a US company and he really bridged the differences of two distinct countries into one sustainable business,” Laguarta said.

Birnbaum pointed out that Jewish and Arab workers are employed at the company in equal measure in Israel, in addition to a few hundred citizens from the Palestinian Authority.

“Friendships are emerging” there at the facility in Israel, said Birnbaum, and the company now wants residents in Gaza to also have the opportunity for good employment at “real jobs.”

Birnbaum said, simply, “where there is prosperity, there can be peace.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.