Vendor 'denied stall' at J'lem Festival for undercutting sellers

70-year-old Jerusalem resident claims he was denied a permit after selling high-quality wooden products for lower prices than other vendors.

Yitzchak Moshik-Levy 224 (photo credit: Noa Landes)
Yitzchak Moshik-Levy 224
(photo credit: Noa Landes)
A 70-year-old Jerusalem resident claims he has been denied a permit by a municipal company to operate a stall at next month's popular International Arts and Crafts Festival after undercutting sellers at the event last year with imported products from Thailand. Yitzhak Moshik-Levy said that vendors at last year's fair had complained about him to the fair's director, after he sold high-quality wooden products that he had imported directly from Thailand at more than 50 percent below the prices of the other vendors. Moshik-Levy, who works as a part-time taxi driver and spends several months a year in the Far East, said that his request to operate a stand at this year's fair - which requires a NIS 5,000 payment - was turned down without explanation by Ariel, the company that runs the fair. He added that his subsequent requests to meet with company head Zion Turgemann to find out why his application had been rejected were ignored. "Like all the artists who are represented in the fair, Mr. Levy's request [to operate a stall] was examined by the application committee," Jerusalem municipality spokesman Gidi Schmerling said in response to a request for comment sent to Turgemann's office. "This year the committee decided to give preferential treatment to original Israeli artists," he said in a written response. Moshik-Levy called the city's response disingenuous, and wondered aloud whether there would be no foreign products sold at the event. The nearly two-week long festival opens August 11 in Sultan's Pool opposite the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The city said that the colorful $1.5 million summer festival - which has been running for more than 30 years - is expected to attract 150,000 visitors.