Protests against McDonald's refusal to open in Israeli settlements

IDF vets erected mock signs in front of McDonald's in Tel Aviv likening their policy to the BDS movement.

June 6, 2019 05:34
3 minute read.
Protests against McDonald's refusal to open in Israeli settlements

Signs outside a McDonald's in Tel Aviv protest the refusal of the local franchise to open in Judea and Samaria.. (photo credit: MAARIV)


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Disabled IDF veterans protested McDonald's refusal to open a branch in Jewish communities located in Samaria on Tuesday, Maariv reported.

Signs outside various McDonald's restaurants in Tel Aviv came amid a government tender for the franchise to open at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

The large red signs erected in front of the entrances to McDonald's restaurants stating in Hebrew, English and Arabic:

"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 large red signs were a parody on similarly looking signs that dot the West Bank forbidding Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian  Authority areas.

Known as Judea and Samaria in Hebrew, Israel took control of the area from Jordan during the Six Day War of 1967. Since the mid 1990s, the West Bank has been divided into Area A, B and C, with Arab population of Area A being under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction.

The IDF Disabled Veterans Forum, a group comprised of hundreds of injured soldiers, claimed responsibility for the stunt on their Facebook page on Tuesday, reported Mako.

"McDonald's decision not to open branches across the Green Line is despicable," the stated.

"But if Omri Padan, who heads the company and was one of the founders of Peace Now, wants to do so - that's his right. But the State of Israel has a law - the Boycott Law... the idea that a company that boycotts parts of the State of Israel will compete in a government tender and stand proudly at the entrance to the State of Israel is intolerable," they stated.

"Omri Padan must understand that his ideology has a price," the group added.

The Samaria Region Council, the elected governing body for Jewish residents of the Samaria section of the West Bank came out earlier this week against a tender being issued for the Israeli franchise of McDonald's to operate at the airport.

Settler leader Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, wrote to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Transportation 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. 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].”

McDonald’s Israel head Omri Padan is one of the founders of the Peace Now organization which opposes Jewish communities in the West Bank, often referred to as Jewish settlements

In 2013, McDonald's Israel refused to open a branch in the Ariel, the region's second largest city with a population of almost 20,000 Israelis. 
 Signs warn Israelis not to travel through Palestinian Authority sections of the West bank. Credit:: Brian Schrauger

McDonald’s Israel, which is operated and licensed by Padan's 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 which separates the post-1967 borders from the rest of the country.

The popular American fast food chain has branches around the world including 180 in Israel of which about over 50 are certified kosher. Even the non-kosher branches do not serve pork products. Over the years, special Israeli items have been offered such as the McShwarama, McKebab and McFalafel.

There is no McDonald's in the Palestinian Authority however Kentucky Fried Chicken, another American fast food chain has branches in Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Jenin and multiple branches in Ramallah. There is currently no KFC in Israel although the chain existed in the Jewish state up until 2012. 

Pizza Hut, the American pizza fast food chain has branches in both Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. 

Ilanit Chernick contributed to this story.

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