JERUSALEM (JTA) — SodaStream has hired 300 new employees for its production plant in southern Israel.
The company, which had come under fire when it was based in the West Bank, now has 1,400 employees in the Idan Hanegev industrial park near Rahat, one-third of them Bedouin Arabs from the surrounding area, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.
One of the largest employers in the Negev Desert, Soda Stream will hire another 70 employees in the coming weeks, according to the report published Wednesday.
Demand for SodaStream products has risen sharply since May 2015, mainly in the Israeli market, but also in other markets, according to Globes.
In October 2014, SodaStream announced it would close its West Bank factory in Maale Adumim and move to southern Israel in the face of international pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to hurt Israel’s economy over its policies toward the Palestinians. The movement claimed that SodaStream discriminated against Palestinian workers and paid some less than Israeli workers.
Some 500 Palestinian employees lost their jobs at that time. Israel gave the remaining 74 employees permission to enter the country and continue to work for SodaStream until the end of February.