Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

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Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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The business of the Israel business boycott

Boycotting Israeli businesses has been a policy of Arab nations since May 1948, when the State of Israel was founded. Just how effective is it today, nearly 70 years on, in a period of globalisation?

The boycott has seen many forms. Initially, the Arab League simply adopted the methodology of the Nuremberg Laws from Nazi Germany. And for decades, most Japanese companies stayed away from the Holy Land. Since the year 2000, the BDS campaign has taken up the call, demanding a disassociation from anything to do with Israel, including overseas players who visit the country.

Surely, over the years, there has been an unmeasured level of success of the messages of such policies entering the minds of neutral thinking people. The result is an increased distrust or worse of Israelis for some. But more than that?

My wife was recently talking to a leading techie in one of Israel’s premier IoT companies. He frequently travels to exhibitions, where Israeli companies are sought after. Any talk of a boycott is simply a joke. Business is business, and political vicissitudes have no place. And that is good for all of us.

As proof of that, look at today’s announcement by SAS to relaunch its flight schedule between Sweden and Israel. Now the Scandinavian country is no friend of Israel’s on the diplomatic scene, to say the least. However, the combination of tourism and business disrupts those paths towards hatred.

To quote from today’s announcement coming out of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism:

The following companies (have also) announced the opening of new routes(to Israel): WOW, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Hainan Airlines and Air India………..Incoming tourism increased 24% in the first quarter 2017 on the same period in 2016.

“Boycott” was a term born in violence in the 1880s. It was hijacked by the revolting racism of the Nazis. It is now employed by the enemies of Israel, hatred wrapped in politically platitudes. Ironically, BDS has a lot of support amongst leading Swedish politicians.

Let us hope the new trade and transport agreements show the way forward for all towards peace for all.

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