McDonald’s wins Ben-Gurion tender despite outcry from West Bank leaders

Following Sunday’s announcement, Beit El Council head Shai Alon was one of the first to object to the decision.

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June 24, 2019 04:40
2 minute read.
mcdonalds jerusalem 248.88

mcdonalds jerusalem 248.88. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)

 
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McDonald’s Israel was awarded a tender on Sunday to operate a restaurant and hot dog stand at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The seven-year tender, with an option for a further two years, will see the fast food franchise operate a restaurant in the Terminal 3 departure hall, and a hot dog stand in the airport’s smaller Terminal 1 departure hall.

The Israel Airports Authority demanded NIS 7 million ($1.93m.) for the operating permit, which was ultimately won with a NIS 17m. ($4.69m.) bid by McDonald’s Israel. Burger King and Burger Ranch also submitted bids exceeding NIS 11m. ($3.04m.).

McDonald’s Israel will take over the management and operation of the restaurant and stand, due to be operated by Burger Ranch until October 31.

Turnover from the two outlets were estimated to total approximately NIS 42m. ($11.60m.) in 2018. Total turnover of franchisees in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 amounted to NIS 330m. ($91.1m.) last year, an increase of 13% since 2017.

Last week, several letters of protest have been sent by settlement leaders in the West Bank calling on the Finance and Transportation ministries as well as the Israel Airport Authority to not allow the tender because the fast-food franchise refuses to open branches in the West Bank, which falls under the country’s anti-boycott laws.

Following Sunday’s announcement, Beit El Council head Shai Alon was one of the first to object to the decision.

“Brothers and sisters, I guess we’re not part of the tribe,” he said. “I was sorry to hear that the company boycotted by hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Judea and Samaria today won a tender to operate outlets at the entrance to the State of Israel by the Israel Airports Authority.

“I am sorry that precisely in the place that is the door to our country, there are those who legitimize a company who refuses to open branches in Judea and Samaria on political grounds,” Alon said. “I call upon all residents living in all of Israel, and Judea and Samaria in particular, not to buy companies that boycott Jews wherever they may be.”

In protest, the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization placed signs outside various McDonald’s restaurants across Tel Aviv earlier this month. The large red signs, which parodied similarly looking signs in the West Bank that forbid Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian Authority areas, were erected in front of the entrances to McDonald’s restaurants, stating:

“Israelis please note! ‘Area M’ is ahead of you, which is controlled by a company that boycotts parts of Israel. By entering this area you become a supporter of the boycott.”

The regional authorities said in the letter that Omri Padan, McDonald’s Israel’s franchisee, “operates out of a radical left-wing ideology that aims to exclude and impose a boycott against large parts of the State of Israel and the Israeli public.”

Padan is a well-known left-wing activist and one of the founders of Peace Now.

“Unfortunately, it appears that instead of denouncing the phenomenon, the State of Israel only encourages it,” they charged. “The boycott is a serious phenomenon designed to harm [the country] economically, academically and culturally.”

In response to the continued protest, Alonyal Ltd., “which opened the first McDonald’s branch in the Middle East in 1993 at the Ayalon Mall in Ramat Gan,” said that it “never had a concession to open branches in the West Bank.”

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