Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan has voiced his opposition to a tender given to McDonald’s to run its restaurant at Ben-Gurion Airport because the fast-food franchise will not open branches in the West Bank.
Dagan said the refusal to open branches there falls under the country’s anti-boycott laws, which focuses on several avenues that are supposed to include the barring of public funding and tax benefits, and its participation in state tenders will being limited.
However, Dagan wrote in a letter penned to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Transport Minister Israel Katz and Airports Authority director-general Yaakov Ganot that “A company that boycotts part of the state must not be allowed to compete in government tenders.”
He claimed that “the State of Israel recently passed the ‘Boycott Law’ whose purpose is to impose sanctions that will help deal with internal and external elements that seek to harm and confiscate parts of the State of Israel and its citizens.
“Unfortunately, despite this clear and unequivocal law,” he wrote, “I learned about the intention of McDonald’s to compete in the IAA tender to open restaurants in Ben-Gurion Airport, which in certain cases and regions has even turned it into a single supplier in the meat fast-food [industry].”
He said that Ben-Gurion “is a symbol of the State of Israel” and “as you know, McDonald’s Israel, headed by Omri Padan, blatantly boycotts the citizens and territories of the State of Israel beyond the Green Line.
“The blatant boycott was not done casually,” he explained in the letter, “but officially and openly, as Padan emphasized in 2013 when he vehemently refused to open a branch of the chain in Ariel which, as you recall, caused a large and just public uproar.”
He claimed that Padan, who opposes Israel’s policy beyond the Green Line and the views of millions of citizens, “now wants to make a living from them and in certain cases become the exclusive supplier at Ben-Gurion Airport.”
He added that this is leading to an absurd situation “in which those who suffer from the boycott will find themselves in an unbearable situation – in a restaurant that boycotts them.”
Concluding the letter, Dagan called on the ministries and IAA “not [to] allow the legitimization of a boycott of the public in Israel.
“I call upon you, by virtue of the authority granted by the law, to limit the participation of any company in boycotting a government tender, including McDonald’s,” he said.
Padan is a well-known left-wing activist and one of the founders of the Peace Now organization.
McDonald’s Israel, which is operated and licensed by Alonyal Ltd., said in a statement that it had never been given permission by global McDonald’s to operate in the West Bank or beyond the Green Line.
In brief statements released to the press on Monday, the Transportation Ministry said that “the minister is not involved in commercial tenders at the Airports Authority”; the Finance Ministry claimed that “the issue does not concern us”; and the Israel Airports Authority claimed that it “acts according to the Tenders Law.”