Market Wise

Palace Industries is marketing Polydor blue-and-white disposable plates, cups, flatware and napkins in honor of Independence Day.

Israel plates 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel plates 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
WITH ISRAEL'S Independence Day coming up next week on the Hebrew calendar, and again the following week on the Gregorian calendar date, not to mention a year of celebrations because of the milestone anniversary of the creation of the state, anyone and everyone is finding an Independence Day hook on which to market and promote merchandise, special projects - and of course patriotism. The Jewish community in Hebron is engaged in all three categories - and then some. Hebron, the final resting place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs, must be taken into consideration in any final-status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It is inconceivable, even to many people on the extreme left, that Jews will not have easy access to the Cave of the Machpela. And then there's a little matter of Jewish property rights. Abraham's purchase of land in Hebron as a burial place for Sarah was the first recorded Jewish real estate deal in history. Then again, the Muslims also regard him as one of their patriarchs, but call him Ibrahim. Albeit in small number, Jews lived in Hebron since Biblical times up until 1929, the year of the Hebron massacre in which 67 Jews were killed, almost as many were wounded, and synagogues and Jewish homes were plundered and ruined. The surviving Jews fled, but two years later, 35 families returned. To prevent another massacre, the British Mandate took the Jews out of Hebron. It remained Judenrein until 1968 when a group of Jewish settlers put down roots, paving the way for a community that now numbers several hundred people. Hebron has become a place of pilgrimage for Jewish visitors from abroad as well as Israeli Orthodox Jews with right-wing political leanings. During the intermediate days of Pessah and Succot, the Hebron Jewish community hosts musical festivals that attract thousands of visitors from all over the country. The choir and congregants of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue have made it a tradition to visit Hebron on Hanukka to light candles in the synagogue area of the Cave of the Machpela and to chant the blessings. The Hebron Gift Shop run by Bentzi Vataro and Ateret Levinger is simultaneously promoting Israel, Hebron and Jerusalem through the sale of Israeli and Hebron car flags, full-size flags of Israel, Hebron and Jerusalem magnets, T-shirts with Israel's national symbols, Hebron T-shirts and other similar goods. SEVERAL FASHION companies are cashing in on Independence Day, among them H&O, which is currently featuring blue-and-white mix-and-match outfits that are meant to instill an added dose of patriotism. Independence Day is invariably marked by picnics and barbecues, and this year will be no exception - unless it rains. In preparation, Palace Industries is marketing Polydor blue-and-white disposable plates, cups, flatware and napkins. Utensils in packages of 25, range in price from NIS 4.99 to NIS 14.99. Despite the upswing in food prices, Neto, producers of Tivon Veal, anticipate a 20 percent to 25% increase in the sale of meat to be barbecued. As in previous years, Bank Hapoalim is encouraging the nation to fly the flag - from its cars and its balconies. The bank is providing the flags as it did in the past, and most daily newspapers will have at least one flag inserted for this purpose. Anyone who reads more than one newspaper will end up with as many flags. The sealed flag package, aside from featuring a Bank Hapoalim flyer, also has the Bank Hapoalim insignia imprinted on the edges of the flag. Bank Hapoalim also sponsored a flag competition under the banner "My Flag" to illustrate the importance of the flag in inspiring national loyalty. Entries in the contest will be posted on some 2,000 billboards across the country. WHILE ON the subject of flags, the annual Elem project of lighting up the flag of Israel through NIS 10 donations, each of which kindles another light in the flag featured on the wall of one of the buildings in the Azrieli complex in Tel Aviv, now has the support of the Israel Postal Service, which is distributing Elem flyers to every Israeli household, explaining the importance of Elem's work for youth at risk. Anyone who wants to contribute can do so via SMS, and thus put another light of hope in the flag. INDEPENDENCE DAY also appeals to the moral conscience of the nation. For instance Rosh Ha'ayin-based Studio and Joy, which provides employment for people with disabilities, is encouraging the purpose of its gift items for Independence Day in the hope that if sales are enormously successful, it will enable the company to hire one or more disabled people. Independence Day gift items include an orange tree sapling with a replica on parchment of the Declaration of Independence; it costs NIS 169. Customers with a lower budget can purchase a bamboo plant that also comes with a replica of the Declaration of Independence for NIS 89. OF COURSE not everything is blue and white. It's a matter of chronology. The Euroleague's Final Four games precede Independence Day, and in full knowledge of the enthusiasm with which fans of Maccabi Tel Aviv will be flying to Madrid this week, James Richardson Duty Free Sport at Ben-Gurion Airport has flooded its store not only with blue and white, but also with yellow, Maccabi Tel Aviv's color, and is selling Maccabi Tel Aviv scarves at $4.99 each to anyone who produces a ticket to Friday's game, as well as a 20% discount on all sporting goods purchases that are colored either yellow or blue and white, such as a blue-and-white sports shoe, indicating patriotism from the ground up. EVEN BEFORE the Final Four is the annual March of the Living tradition that brings thousands of Israeli high school students and Jewish youngsters from around the world to Poland for an intensive learning experience in Holocaust history. Organizing kosher food on these occasions is an Herculean task. Food Connection has won the concession this year to supply more than 30,000 kosher meals over a seven-day period. For this purpose they kashered the kitchens of four hotels in Warsaw and two in Krakow and recruited a crew of 250 cooks, kitchen hands and waiters, and hired 20 refrigerated trucks in which to transport food products and frozen meals. Food Connection is a subsidiary of Prime in Gan Oranim, the main catering outlet in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.