Ben-Gurion Airport's Terminal 3 arrivals hall.
(photo credit: GEORGEDEMENT/FLICKR-WIKIPEDIA CREATIVE COMMONS)
The leaders of the West Bank’s regional councils have joined the demand of Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan in opposing a tender that may be given to McDonald’s to operate its meat restaurant at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Earlier this month, Dagan called on the Finance and Transportation ministries as well as the Israel Airport Authority not to 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.
On Sunday night, the West Bank leaders penned another letter to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and then-transportation minister Israel Katz – who was replaced on Monday by Bezalel Smotrich – demanding that they exercise their authority under the “Boycott Law” to disallow McDonald’s, “whose franchisee Omri Padan says explicitly that he will not set up McDonald’s branches beyond the Green Line – to compete in an IAA tender for fast meat food at Ben-Gurion International Airport because it is a state tender.”
The letter was signed by Dagan, Binyamin Regional Council head Yisrael Ganz, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neiman, Har Hebron Regional Council head Yochai Damari, Kiryat Arba and Hebron leader Eliyahu Liebman and Karnei Shomron Local Council head Yigal Lahav.
The regional authorities said in the letter that “Padan 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 the Peace Now organization.
“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.”
The leaders further explained that this was exactly the reason why the government passed the Boycott Law, “which is intended to ensure that companies and organizations acting to boycott the State of Israel, certain areas, or residents, will not be able to operate in the country or benefit from state money because of their wish to harm. It is sad that the State of Israel, which invests endless resources in order to fight the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement around the world, chooses to avert its eyes when it is being done right in front of them.”
The letter called on both ministries “to exercise your authority” and to prevent McDonald’s “from participating in the government tender to open branches at Ben-Gurion Airport – a tender that, if won, will seriously harm the residents of Judea and Samaria who are being boycotted.”
In protest, the Disabled IDF veterans group 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.”
Following Dagan’s June 3 letter, 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 June 4, 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 IAA claimed that it “acts according to the Tenders Law.”
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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