ben eliezer at post 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry together with manufacturers will launch a massive public relations campaign to increase sales of "Blue and White" products as a way to battle unemployment.
The campaign, which is set to be rolled out over the next few weeks, includes a media blitz, an educational program at the schools and the establishment of a "Blue and White headquarters" in the ministry.
"Every billion shekels spent on Israeli made products creates 2,750 jobs," said Tzvia Dori, director of the ministry's domestic trade administration. "Creation of new jobs and the saving of existing ones are the most important targets for the ministry. This move was pushed by Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who came into the office in the midst of the global economic crisis."
"In the beginning of September we will be launching an aggressive media campaign on all platforms to raise awareness of the importance of buying locally made products both for creating jobs and as a matter of national pride. In most countries it goes without saying that there should be a preference for buying locally manufactured goods, but in Israel we always think imports are better," said Dori. "Naturally we demand that the Israeli products be of at least the same quality as those that are imported and that the price be competitive."
The ministry will also be launching a new Web site, which will include the definition of "Blue and White" purchasing, a list of highlighted products, consumer forums and a citizen complaints section. They will also be producing a specially designed sticker, which will be placed on all locally produced items, so that shoppers will be able to identify them easily.
As part of the campaign, the ministry will partner with the Israel Manufacturers' Association to promote local purchasing by children and youth.
"We've teamed up with Ta'asiyeda, the association's non-profit educational organization, and will use their existing structure and connections in the educational system, to get the message into the schools," said Dori.
Ta'asiyeda, is a 20-year-old program that combines interactive workshops and a hands-on approach, to develop entrepreneurship, creative thinking and technological understanding among Israeli students grades 3-12.
"Over the next year we will reach 40,000 students from all parts of society and all across the country," said Dori.
An additional track that the headquarters will pursue is that of correcting discrimination against Israeli-manufactured products. Dori said that there is an attitude prevalent among some in the commercial sector that Israeli products are inherently inferior and because of considerations of prestige or buyers' desire to go to other countries, Israeli companies are discriminated against when it comes to tenders.
The ministry has proposed to create a position in all government offices and organizations subject to the tender laws for a person who will be responsible for making sure Israeli companies receive fair and equal consideration and to receive complaints from parties who feel they were unfairly treated.
"Right now we only receive a few dozen complaints a year, but we're sure that if the positions are manned and the public becomes aware of them, the rate of complaints will rise," said Dori.
As part of the blue and white offensive, Ben-Eliezer has approached several of his counterparts in other ministries, calling them out on their failure to give preference to locally manufactured products. On Sunday, he met with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch to discuss the purchase of 60,000 prisoners uniforms from China, a deal valued at NIS 2.5 million.
The ministers agreed to find ways how to help give preference to local manufacturers, including adding tender points to Israeli companies and issuing a special temporary order that will provide solutions for the textile industry during the economic crisis.