Muslims and Jews break Ramadan fast at SodaStream’s factory in southern Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — SodaStream hosted a Ramadan break fast meal at its factory in the southern Israeli town of Rahat.

The iftar meal on Monday was attended by Bedouins and Jewish Israelis as well as the company’s Palestinian employees and other Palestinian guests, the Associated Press reported.

The meal was attended by the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

“Tonight I had the pure joy to attend the Ramadan Peace Festival at SodaStream’s factory in the Negev. Muslims, Druze, Christians and Jews working together, each making the other better, happier and more prosperous. This is peace!” Friedman tweeted.

Daniel Birenbaum, CEO of SodaStream told his guests that the employees and managers of the factory “need to ensure coexistence and peace between us, not just during iftar, but every day. The thousands of people who are eating here tonight are the light that wins out over the darkness, both under missiles and intense periods,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

In October 2014, SodaStream announced it would close its factory in Maale Adumim and move to southern Israel in the face of pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS. The company now has more than 1,400 employees in the Idan Hanegev industrial park near Rahat, one-third of them Bedouin Arabs from the surrounding area.  Some 74 Palestinian employees received permits to move the Rahat factory, after more than a year of pressure by the company.

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