couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the tag “palestinian”

Palestinian boycott of Israeli products started today

It is ironic- all around the world, there are BDSers who refuse to buy Israeli products because they don’t believe in Israel.  The Palestinians, however, have always purchased Israeli milk and other products from companies such as Osem, Tnuva, Prigat and more.  In fact, there is a commercial for a supermarket in Gaza that features Israeli products- some with Arabic and some with Hebrew on it.

Last week, however, things began to change.  Israel decided to withhold tax revenues that were supposed to be transferred to the PA in response to the PA’s application to join the Hague International Criminal Court.  The ICC prosecutes genocide and war crimes.  The December revenues amounted to approximately $127 million.  In response to Israel’s response, the PA (without Abu Mazen) announced that they will forbid the entry of products from six Israeli companies: Osem, Tnuva, Strauss, Prigat, and Yafora (Schwepps, RC Cola, Ein Gedi, Mei Eden, Spring, and more) into the PA.  Retailers have two weeks to exhaust their stocks.  After that, the products are to be either returned or destroyed.  The ban is to continue until Israel releases the tax revenues.

How effective this ban will be is not clear.  Tnuva sells only 3% of its production- approximately 200-250 million shekels- to the PA, mostly basic dairy products.  Osem sells less than 2%, or 70 million shekels.  Strauss sells even less- mainly ice cream and puddings.  One of these companies’ managers told the Marker that the products they sell in the “reshut” are very basic products with a very low price tag because the area is not wealthy.  The profit margin in the reshut is much lower than Israel.  The only people who will get hurt by the ban are the consumers, who won’t be able to get alternative products locally.

The retailers are also upset because while their shelves will be empty of basic necessities, people can go to a Rami Levy store close to the reshut and buy whatever they want.  The retailers also are worried about a black market that might pop up in response to the demand from the people.  The consumers will be forced to pay higher prices that they cannot afford to do for smuggled products that might not be kept at the proper temperature.

What do you think?  Was Israel justified in withholding tax revenues?  Is the PA justified in boycotting Israeli products? Who is going to win this battle?  Should there be an Israeli response to the boycott which is in response to Israel withholding tax revenues in response to the PA applying to join the ICC? And of course, the most important question- does this mean prices will increase here???

Sources: The Marker and Reuters

EXPOSED: Heter mechira produce or worse sold as “nochri” produce

During shmitah there is a dramatic increase in the use of “nochri” produce (produce grown by non-Jews) by the haredi population.  This is provided by the Palestinians, who receive 2-3 times the regular non-shmitah price.  Despite the increase in need, there is no subsequent increase in production which creates a strong motivation to provide produce from other sources in order to fulfill the demand and receive double/triple compensation.  This week a produce wholesaler was caught doing just that.  “Kvutzat Siam L’Peirot v’Yerakot” sells fruits and vegetables to restaurants in Jerusalem along with direct sales of produce in the Machane Yehuda shuk.  The owner of this business, Kfir Issa, has a brother who sells Palestinian produce under the business name “Peirot v’Yerakot Mishor Adumim”.  Kfir Issa was caught this week by the Pitzuach unit of Misrad HaChakalut purchasing large quantities of produce from Jewish farms under the heter mechira as well as other farms under no supervision whatsoever.  On this produce he put a fake rabbanut stamp and stored it in cold storage in Mishor Adumim.  From there it was sold to haredi centers as produce under “shmitah l’chumrah”.

Haredi consumers and mehadrin restaurants who thought they were purchasing kosher l’mehadrin produce discovered that under the best situation, they purchased heter mechira produce at 2-3 times the regular price.  In the worst case scenario, they purchased product of unknown origin, under no government or rabbinic supervision at the same price.

The produce came into Israel with travel documents that were for previously purchased Israeli produce that were re-purposed.

Rabbi Rafi Yochai, in charge of kashrut fraud in the rabbanut stated: “This is a revolving door of whitewashing merchandise in large quantities, and the great majority of it we will probably never know about.  Businesses such as these are likely to turn the matter of ‘yivol chul’ into a laughingstock.  This expose shows how important it is to strengthen and to empower the rabbanut, and to put effective tools in their hands for dealing with and supervising kashrut on a national basis.”

Source: Mekor Rishon 24/10/2014

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