Home LATEST-NEWS Israeli ice cream makers distance themselves from Ben & Jerry’s affair

Israeli ice cream makers distance themselves from Ben & Jerry’s affair

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The Israeli ice cream makers distanced themselves from the decision by the American owners of Ben & Jerry’s to cancel sales in settlements in the West Bank and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

Representatives of the country’s largest ice cream makers, Strauss and Osem, declined to comment on the decision or speculate on its impact on sales.

Israel’s ice cream market is estimated at about NIS 2 billion per year. Market surveys indicate that Ben & Jerry’s has a market share of 12-13%, a distant third behind Strauss and Osem, who each hold more than 35% of the market. Ben & Jerry’s is widely regarded as the highest quality ice cream in Israel, as well as the most expensive commercially made brand.

Israelis were outraged Monday after the American owners of the Ben & Jerry’s brand, as well as its parent company, Unilever, issued a statement saying that “it is not in line with our values ​​for selling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territory.” areas.” Many, including several politicians, took to social media with videos of ice cream containers being thrown in the trash or calling for boycotts of the company.

However, it soon became apparent that the biggest casualty of the global company’s decision was the local franchisee. Avi Zinger, the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Israel, told the parent company that he would disobey the order and continue to sell throughout Israel. In turn, he was told that his license to use the brand would not be renewed if the company’s contract expires at the end of next year.

That led to calls for Israelis to support Zinger’s franchise while respecting his sacrifice.

“Have you gone mad?” The President of the Manufacturers’ Association, Dr. Ron Tomer, asked Tuesday in a video. “There is an Israeli manufacturer here who will lose his life’s work fighting the regulations from abroad that oblige him to discriminate against Israeli citizens from the territories, and you want to boycott him? We must condemn everything Ben & Jerry’s Global does, but reinforce the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s that fought for the right to sell the ice cream to all Israelis in the country; not to boycott it and cause its collapse. We must continue to buy ice cream to support and strengthen the company and its employees.”

The issue quickly became a political landmine. Golda Ice Cream, a boutique chain with branches across the country, said it was cheeky when it posted on Facebook: “Ben & Jerry’s, this country is too small for both of us. We are proud of our right to sell blue and white (locally made) ice cream to all citizens of Israel.” That post quickly gained a lot of likes, but the company was later forced to temper its language and apologize to local Ben & Jerry’s for mocking their plight.

While many are now calling on people to support Ben & Jerry’s, it’s too early to speculate whether this decision will help or hurt Ben & Jerry’s sales in Israel, and the company’s competitors in Israel have said nothing they regret. could get.

“We are not part of this story,” said the owner of the Jerusalem ice cream chain Mousseline. “I don’t want to be happy about someone else’s accident.”

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