At the end of the month, the work permits of 74 Palestinian workers for SodaStream will expire. “People here are crying,” the CEO of the company Daniel Birnbaum told Channel 2 News. “These are good people that have already worked here 6 years and some of them are managers.”
The SodaStream Factory will have to fire all 74 of the Palestinian workers that have been working for them for years. This is because the factory was moved to the Negev, thus forcing the workers to receive special permits to enter into Israel. The approvals for a year and a half have not been accepted. The manager of the company has already given up appealing to the authorities and has turned to the public in a special video.
The pressure and threats from the BDS Movement is one of the main reasons why the factory was transferred from the West Bank to the Negev. As of today, the factory employs 1,200 people. 200 of them are Native Jewish Israelis, 300 are immigrants from the former Soviet Union, 100 are immigrants from Ethiopia, 400 are Bedouin Israelis, 100 are Arab Israelis, and 74 are Palestinian.
The atmosphere at the factory in recent days has been difficult. “People here are crying,” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum stated. “These are good people who have worked here for 6 years and some of them are managers. There is real coexistence here and the Israeli government cannot find a way to let them continue working. They are ambassadors for the country against the BDS Movement.”
According to the CEO, the government recently approved guidelines to increase the number of Palestinian workers in Israel but in practice, it has not happened. The company recently received notification that their Palestinian workers have another 11 days to work. “The approval of work permits will melt away the Intifada,” he stated. “If these Palestinians don’t continue to work with us, there will be another international scandal and I won’t shut up. I won’t defend the Israeli government.”
The pressure has already increased within social media. The company released a video clip featuring their Palestinian workers who conveyed a message of peaceful coexistence: “We created a video clip that tells the truth. This is not a political campaign.”