Soldiers patrolling the parking lot by the Rami Levi supermarket in the Gush Etzion commercial center.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Settlers on Friday called on the Rami Levy chain to stop hiring Arab employees after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed and seriously wounded an Israeli man outside the supermarket’s parking lot in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.
The attack was the second in the last two weeks to occur in a parking lot near one of the chain's stores. On October 28, a Palestinian assailant stabbed a female shopper in the back as she headed to her car outside the Rami Levy parking lot at the Gush Etzion junction.
Similarly, on Friday, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli man in the back and the chest by a Rami Levy supermarket in the Sha’are Binyamin Industrial Park. The terrorist then fled the scene. Security forces scoured the area in search of the terrorist. Magen David Adom evacuated the victim to the Sha’are Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The Rami Levi supermarket chain, which hires both Israelis and Palestinians, and where both populations shop, are seen as small islands of coexistence.
An unnamed settler group, however, said the attack showed that the time had come for Rami Levy to stop hiring Palestinians.
“We're a group of Jews from the Samaria and Judea communities that decided, in light of the catastrophe around the Rami Levy branches with all the Arabs that work and shop there, that we will stop shopping in Rami Levy," the group said.
“Join us so we can stop this hypocrisy,” the group said in a message it sent to the media.
Rami Levy said that he had no intention of changing his hiring policy and that he did not take gender, race or ethnicity into consideration when evaluating potential workers.
“To do so, would be to give way to extremism and hand a victory over the terrorists," Levy said.
Most businesses and institutions hire Arab workers, including hospitals, gas stations and coffee shops, he said. Ironically, he said, he is also attacked by Palestinians who consider him to be “the biggest settler” for placing two of his stores in the West Bank.
People who are opposed to coexistence only help smear Israel’s name in the international community, he said.
Levy explained that when journalists, particularly from Europe, come to Israel he brings them to his stories so they can see that the negative stories they have heard about Israel are simply not true.
In light of the attack he called on people to continue to come and shop in his stores and not to let fear keep them at home.
Avi Ro’eh who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria said that the attack was part of a wave of terror sweeping the country.
"We will continue to hold our heads high and stand strong,” Ro’eh said.
The deputy head of the Binyamin Regional Council Yisrael Gantz called on residents to remain alert and to continue with their normal routine. “Today’s attack shows that there is no difference between Beersheba and Sha’re Binyamin," Gantz said.
The best response to the terror attack, Gantz said, was to stop supporting the “surreal idea” of a two state solution.