“Rami Levy does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or religion when hiring and promoting employees. All employees, Palestinians and Israelis, are treated equally and receive equal benefits. Salaries are based solely on one’s position and performance. My goal for all Rami Levy employees is to have the same opportunity to succeed.” — Rami Levy, owner of Israel’s third-largest supermarket chain, half of whose 4,000 workers, he says, are Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.
Palestinian investors, according to Fatah official Hatem Abdel Qader Eid, could have prevented Rami Levy from building his new mall had they invested in the construction of a Palestinian shopping center. “It’s true that there are wealthy Palestinian businessmen…”
Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall.
If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel. If he is lucky, he will have a close encounter with a firebomb. If he is not lucky, he will be hanged in a public square.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction has responded to a new shopping mall in east Jerusalem, which has Arabs as most of its workers and customers, in a manner that showcases how Palestinian leaders continue to torpedo benefits to their people. Pictured: A Rami Levy supermarket branch in western Jerusalem. (Image source: Yoninah/Wikimedia Commons)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction is angry. It seems a Jewish Israeli businessman has just built a shopping mall in east Jerusalem and most of its workers and customers are Arabs.
Fatah leaders have called for boycotting the mall.
Fatah, which is often described in the Western media as a moderate faction, has responded to the mall enterprise in a manner that showcases how Palestinian leaders continue to torpedo benefits to their people.
Where in the world would any leader condemn a project that provides jobs to hundreds of his or her people? Where in the world would any leader call on his or her people to boycott a shopping mall or a supermarket that offers competitive prices for clothes and food? Where in the world would a leader describe the opening of a commercial project that benefits his or her people as a catastrophe (“nakba”)?
Rami Levy, a businessman and owner of the third-largest Israeli supermarket chain, invested more than $50 million in the construction of a mall in the Atarot Industrial Park northeast of Jerusalem. Despite the boycott calls, some Palestinians have rented stores in the mall, which is being described as a model for coexistence between Arabs and Jews. The new mall also has a large supermarket belonging to Levy’s supermarket chain.
Levy’s supermarkets in Jerusalem and the West Bank are popular among Palestinian shoppers. They say the prices there are lower than those in Arab-owned businesses. That is most likely why hundreds of Palestinians converged on the newly opened supermarket in the mall when it officially opened on January 8. Israeli supermarkets hire hundreds of Palestinians from the West Bank, as well as Arab residents of Jerusalem, who work together with Jewish colleagues.
According to Levy, half of his 4,000 employees are Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. “I began employing Palestinian and Israeli Arab workers at the first Rami Levy location, a stall in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market that opened in 1976. Arabs were among my first employees,” he said.
“Those employees continue to work for Rami Levy Hashikma — our supermarket outlets — and many have seen their careers flourish with the company. The first employee I hired 35 years ago was a man named Ibrahim, an Arab from east Jerusalem who has remained at Rami Levy and currently works as our director of logistics. Other Arab Israeli and Palestinian employees who have since joined the Rami Levy team have also been promoted to upper management positions. Rami Levy does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or religion when hiring and promoting employees. All employees, Palestinians and Israelis, are treated equally and receive equal benefits. Salaries are based solely on one’s position and performance. My goal for all Rami Levy employees is to have the same opportunity to succeed. This goal that can only be realized if the principle of equality is implemented in all aspects of the company.”
For Abbas’s Fatah officials, however, the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. They do not like the idea that Palestinian workers are being paid good salaries and are being treated by their employer with respect. They also do not like seeing Palestinian shoppers queuing to buy food and goods that are being offered to them in better quality and cheaper prices. The Fatah officials would rather see their people unemployed or pay higher prices in the Palestinian market than give their business to a Jewish-owned shopping center.
Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices, the Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. “This was a sad day for Jerusalem,” said veteran Fatah official Hatem Abdel Qader Eid in reference to the opening of the new mall. “This project aims at undermining the Arab commerce in Jerusalem and making it subordinate to the Israeli economy.”
The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by Abdel Qader Eid. The large turnout is, of course, good news: it shows that Palestinians are like any customers around the world who prefer better products at lower cost. For them, this was not a “sad day,” as the Fatah official said, but an exciting one. Finally, a mall has come near their home, offering them a wide range of products at economical rates.
Nonetheless, Abdel Qader Eid got one thing right: his lament concerning the absence of Palestinian investors and capital. “Palestinian capitalists are cowards,” he said. Palestinian investors, Eid added, could have prevented Rami Levy from building his new mall had they invested in the construction of a Palestinian shopping mall. “It’s true that there are wealthy Palestinian businessmen. But while they are rich with money, they are poor in their will and education.”
Sadly, the Fatah official is saying that Palestinian businessmen have no faith in their people and would rather invest their money elsewhere.
Another senior Fatah official, Osama Qawassmeh, took the incitement a step further. He warned that any Palestinian who shops at the new mall or rents space there will be accused of “betraying the homeland.” He went on to peddle the old Palestinian lie that purchasing Israeli products is an act of “supports for settlements and the Israeli army.”
Fatah’s incitement against the new mall did not fall on deaf ears. On the day the mall was inaugurated, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, forcing (Palestinian) shoppers to flee for their lives. Fortunately, no one was hurt and there was no damage to the stores or vehicles in the parking lot.
The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. The thugs who attacked the mall with firebombs could have injured or killed Palestinians. The thugs, who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.
By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good?
If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel. If he is lucky, he will have a close encounter with a firebomb. If he is not lucky, he will be hanged in a public square. How is that for Palestinian readiness to engage in a peace process with Israel?
Bassam Tawil, a Muslim Arab, is based in the Middle East.
BDS movement founder Omar Barghouti (YouTube)
Omar Barghouti, founder and leader of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, was denied entry to the United States on Wednesday.
He was informed by airline staff at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Israel that U.S. immigration officials told the American consul in Tel Aviv to block him from boarding the flight.
A State Department official told NPR, “Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
The US Capitol Building. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Four of Israel’s most dedicated supporters in the US Congress on Friday expressed concern that the Jewish state may annex the West Bank, as results from Israel’s election earlier this week confirmed the likelihood of a right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“As strong, life-long supporters of Israel, a U.S.-Israel relationship rooted in our shared values, and the two-state solution, we are greatly concerned by the possibility of Israel taking unilateral steps to annex the West Bank,” said a joint statement from Democratic representatives Eliot Engel (NY), Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The final image sent by Israeli spacecraft Beresheet before it crash-landed on the moon. Photo: courtesy of Space IL.
Astronauts and scientists at the US space agency NASA commended the Israeli non-profit organization SpaceIL for its efforts afyer its spacecraft “Beresheet” failed to land safely on the moon on Thursday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said, “While NASA regrets the end of the SpaceIL mission without a successful lunar landing of the Beresheet lander, we congratulate SpaceIL, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the state of Israel on the incredible accomplishment of sending the first privately funded mission into lunar orbit.”
“Der ewige Jude” – “Theeternal Jew” movie poster . (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The lead article Thursday on the opinion page of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper compared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the 1940 Nazi antisemitic movie The Eternal Jew.
The article was titled in the paper “The Eternal Netanyahu” in a word play in connection with director Fritz Hippler’s antisemitic pseudo-documentary, based on the medieval legend of the wandering Jew, that served as a cinematographic justification for the Holocaust.
As an orthopedic surgeon for 30 years in Washington, D.C. I see patients from all over the world and from every walk of life and what has become clear to me is that everyone is fundamentally the same. As a rule, I shy away from political or religious discussions with my patients as they have no bearing on their care. But occasionally, the discussions are thrust on me.
Several years ago I treated a professor of political science from a local university and had established a good rapport with him. On his last visit before saying goodbye he popped a question.
It is well-known by some and wholly ignored by others that Islam has a long, sad history of antisemitism, a bigotry that originated in the seventh century CE (the first Islamic century) and has grown more vicious in the 21st. Combined with an almost universal anti-Zionism and bolstered by many on the political “left”, it is today the most ubiquitous and deadliest form of Jew-hatred. It takes the form, not just of insults, boycotts, and lawfare, but of wars, terrorist attacks, and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jews.
Amman – The streets in Amman’s Jebel al-Weibdeh are crowded in the early evening with sounds of young people looking for a place to relax. Coffee shops intermix with art studios selling crafts for tourists. At the Maestro bar and restaurant, a band is getting ready for a live performance. The lights are dimmed and someone has put “no smoking” signs on the tables – they are out of place with the ash trays. Apparently, Monday has jam sessions and anyone can bring their instrument to join in. But it’s Wednesday.
A few of my readers recently asked me to explain the difference between “Palestinians” living inside and outside of Israel’s borders. Who are the “Palestinians” anyway? First, see below:
“Palestine” does not exist today as a nation-state, but at multiple times in history, including the present, it has been one of the names of a place. The Romans, recalling the defunct Philistines – non-Arab Sea People – coined it after defeating [Jewish general] Bar Kochba in 135 CE to disassociate what had been Judaea from Jews.
President Trump’s peace plan for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict surfaced two years ago and to this day – remarkably – only he and a handful of aides know its precise details. A stream of leaks, however, contains enough internal consistency that their collation, supplemented by conversations with administration officials, provides a plausible outline of the plan’s contents.
On March 31, a South Bend grandma brought her grandson to the hospital. The 11-month-old baby boy had been shot. His grandmother’s car had also taken fire. It was another early morning in South Bend.
Around the same time, Mayor Buttigieg, was toting up the $7 million in donations from his charm offensive as his bid for the 2020 Democrat nomination got underway. The national media never bothered reporting the shooting of an 11-month-old boy in the city he was supposed to be running, but instead confined its coverage of South Bend matters to a publicity stunt wedding officiated by Buttigieg.
The Palestinian students are being targeted because of their political affiliations and not because of any crime they committed.
While the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are busy beating up each other’s supporters, “pro-Palestinian” activists on US and Canadian university campuses are busy blaming Israel for Palestinian woes.
As an American Christian who has had the privilege of working in senior-level positions for four US presidents and who has enjoyed a close association with three of Israel’s prime ministers, I believe it is my obligation to provide the Israeli people with my views. I think my viewpoint is important because a vast number of American Evangelical Christians believe as I believe. In addition, Evangelical Christians are, without question, Israel’s strongest supporters in the United States.
Does Case 3000 – known as the submarine affair – prove that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is guilty of doing something illegal? Well, all Likud supporters believe with absolute confidence that it’s a political plot. Netanyahu’s opponents, however, believe – also with absolute confidence – that it’s the largest corruption case to ever occur in the State of Israel.