(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
When the Manufacturers Association of Israel decided to launch a blue and white
campaign to promote the purchase of “Made in Israel” products, it opted not to
ask a pretty young internationally known model or a prominent theatrical
personality to be its presenter.
Instead it chose a 90-year-old man with
a lot of experience albeit more on the political than the commercial campaign
Nonetheless, when asked, President Shimon Peres instantly took up
the challenge and even coined a slogan that rings well in Hebrew, though it’s a
little awkward in English.
Konim mutzarim kahol lavan lo mitoch hitnadvut
ella bezchut ha’eichut (“We buy blue and white products not out of volunteerism
but because of their quality”).
Throughout his tenure, Peres has made a
point of putting visits to factory plants on his agenda. However, he is doing so
not only to acquaint himself with Israel’s industrial innovations and output,
but also to encourage increased productivity and diversity.
greatly impressed on Wednesday in the course of a campaign visit to Kibbutz
Ma’agan Michael 30 km. south of Haifa.
Ma’agan Michael is Israel’s
largest kibbutz with a population in the range of 1,500. In addition to growing
fruits and vegetables, cultivating fish ponds in which it breeds edible and
decorative fish, and maintaining a metal works industry, Ma’agan Michael derives
the bulk of its income from Plasson Industries. The company specializes in
plastic pipes and fittings used to distribute, transfer, and convey, water, gas,
industrial fluids and waste.
Plasson, which went public in 1996, and is
listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It
is a global company with manufacturing plants in Germany, Italy, the US and
India along with sales and marketing offices in the UK, Brazil, Spain and
While Plasson was the main focus of the president’s visit to
the kibbutz, he also visited its other sources of revenue. He declared that it
was essential for Israel’s population to become aware of the range and quality
of locally produced merchandise. Safeguarding Israel’s industry was no less
important than national security, he said.
“It’s not just a matter of
reducing unemployment but of increasing trade,” said Peres.
growth of Israel’s exports is vital to the national economy, he said.
was not just a casual remark in the spirit of the campaign.
many positions that Peres has held in a rich and varied career is that of
Manufacturers Association of Israel chairman Zvi Oren
who accompanied Peres on the visit, spoke in glowing terms of the growth of
When he was a boy, he said, exports came to around $6
million per year. Today, they stand at $44 billion.
Much of this success
is attributable to R&D and the numerous patents taken out by Israeli
scientists, technologists and other researchers working hand in glove with
In appreciation of what Peres had said about the quality of
Israeli goods, Oren remarked that many years ago, people bought Made in Israel
for lack of choice. Today, with many choices at their disposal, they buy it,
because it’s a high quality product.
Oren is not content for Israel to
rest on its export laurels and said that the aim was to double export figures in
the shortest possible time.
For this to happen, the government must take
greater responsibility and see to it that there are more trained and competent
people in the work force, he said, adding that it was imperative that the
government invest more in vocational and technological education.