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Sunday, February 22, 2004

Made in Palestine

These boxes are scattered throughout the Machaneh Yehuda shuk in Jerusalem. Merchants take the plastic cartons of cherry tomatoes, strawberries or other produce and sell them to unsuspecting shoppers, perhaps even the occasional Likud MK who stops by this "Likud stronghold" on the eve of general elections.

I sent the following email to a popular email service helping Jerusalemites find anything and everything they are looking for. It was rejected. I turn to you, readers of the Kumah blog, to help restore the ideal of Jewish labor and holistic approach to the Jewish project.

Dear Hebrews,
It is very difficult to find restaurants, supermarkets and many other services that use Jewish labor rather than relying on cheaper, foreign or Arab workers. There are many that see 'Avoda Ivrit' as a primary method of social action. In addition to the ideological and security reasons (i.e. the roots of Zionism, our biblical forefathers, and such incidents as the poisoning plot by the Hamas cell working at Cafe Rimon), the economic situation and Jewish unemployment really make Jewish Labor the call of the hour.

I am therefore compiling a list (for my personal use, but also would be happy to share it with interested parties) of restaurants, grocers, and other miscellaneous services that are part of the 'Avoda Ivrit' movement, even unintentionally.

One final anecdote: My wife came back from Machane Yehuda with an empty crate of cherry tomatoes on which was written 'Made in Palestine' - now, not only does that alarm me for similar reasons as those that would preclude my purchase of a Volkswagen in the 1930's - It alarms because I happen to know from extensive research that none of the legal constraints present in the free world with regard to toxic pesticides exist in the P.A. It is documented (by PA and non-PA environmental groups) that 7 of the most toxic pesticides and insecticides outlawed in the U.S., Israel, and most everywhere else are in wide usage among PA farmers who then sell the produce, unmarked, within Israel.

Feel free to circulate this call and may see a revival of Hebrew living.
B'ahavat Yisrael,
Ezra HaLevi


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