Think 'blue and white' for the holidays [p. 17]

The Manufacturers Association of Israel launched a pre-holiday "blue and white" campaign Monday, calling on businesses and Diaspora Jewry to use their festival shopping as a means of assisting businesses in the North. "The combination of gifts given by businesses and purchases made abroad for the Jewish holidays is valued at over NIS 2.2 billion," said Liora Birnhack-Markus, chairperson of the Association's Haifa and northern branch, which is spearheading the campaign. "This amount will help in the economic recovery of the North." The campaign, launched in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and the Histadrut Labor Union, calls upon businesses to use northern-based products in their gift packages to workers and appealed to Jews outside of the country to purchase those products for their holiday tables and gifts. "Our aim is to have every Jewish family in the Diaspora spend at least $50 on a products from the North in their Rosh Hashanah shopping," Birnhack-Markus said. "We have approached various Jewish organizations abroad to advance the overseas campaign." The group said it would make use of stickers, T-shirts, labels on products and advertisements in the press to advance the campaign in Israel and that it also would establish a Web site to centralize a list of all businesses and factories in the North and the products and services they provide. Birnhack-Markus said the site would include hotels and tourist attractions and unique things from the North to "achieve a flow of money to the North, not just through donations but also so people get to know what the area has to offer." While the Web site is not yet up and running, Birnhack-Markus said that, due to the urgency of the campaign, she was aiming to set up in a week what usually takes months. IMA also has an exhibition in Tel Aviv in the works to give producers from the North an opportunity to sell their products in the run up to the holiday season.