Yoav Schwartz
Shop drops European wine in protest of labeling West Bank goods
Owner of a Bnei Brak wine shop replaces European goods with wines from the West Bank; Moshavim Movement warns that labeling could extend to all of Israel.
Yoav Schwartz, 46, owner of a wine shop in Bnei Brak, decided to respond to the EU's decision to label products from the West Bank and the Golan Heights by taking European wines off his shelves and replacing them with those made in the West Bank.



"Since the issue hit the headlines, I immediately decided to just remove European wines from my store's shelves," Schwartz told Ynet.


"I removed wines from Spain, Italy and France. It hurts me financially but I'm willing to take it," he added. "My bottles range between NIS 200 and 500, so it's not a simple thing." Meanwhile, the wines are in storage and are not for sale. "Even if people come and ask for European wines, I'm not selling them right now."


Yoav Schwartz, owner of a Bnei Brak wineshop
Yoav Schwartz, owner of a Bnei Brak wineshop


Commenting on the EU's decision to label products, he said that "this is a political decision that prevents people from tasting quality products. There are quality products made in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) that can hold a candle to any European wines. In addition, the main victims of the boycott are actually Palestinian workers, who will be forced to leave their jobs in the event that there are losses."


The Moshavim Movement warned on Friday that the European labeling of agricultural products from the settlements could develop into a ban on all Israeli agricultural products, which would immediately hurt all farmers who export abroad in various sectors such as fruits, vegetables, flowers and orchards. "The Europeans do not distinguish between products from the settlements and products from the rest of the country," they claim.


Meir Tzur, secretary general of the Moshavim Movement, sent a missive to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely demanding that they take action and oppose the new policy. "A situation may arise in which all Israeli farm products are boycotted and this would seriously harm agricultural exports to Europe," he said. "Israeli agriculture today is in crisis and the livelihood of many farmers depends on exports abroad. Such a boycott of agricultural products could lead to the closure of farms


Figures published Thursday by the Yesha Council revealed that there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of enterprises in the West Bank, from 680 in 2011 to 890 in 2015. These establishments employ, according to their data, 24,000 workers, 15,300 of which are from the Palestinian territories - an increase of 24 percent compared to 2011.


The Yesha Council noted that this increase occurred despite laws enacted by the Palestinian Authority against Palestinians working for Jewish businesses in the West Bank and against the trade in products made in the settlements. They also noted that the Palestinian population constitutes approximately 62 percent of all workers in industry and agriculture and that industrial development in the area makes it possible to create new jobs for the local population. However, these workers often earn significantly lower wages than the minimum wage.


פרסום ראשון: 11.13.15, 23:01
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