Sodastream hosts Israel’s largest Ramadan breakfast (Iftar) event

May 29, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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SodaStream International LTD has hosted the third edition of its Ramadan break-fast event for close to 3,000 guests at its plant in Rahat, the largest Ramadan break-fast (Iftar) held in Israel.

Rahat, a Bedouin village, 22km from the Gaza border in the Negev desert of Israel, has been SodaStream’s home since 2015. At this facility, 2,000 people from all religions and nationalities including Jews, Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians work side by side in peace and harmony. We call it our “Island of Peace”. 

SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum called for peace and coexistence from the stage, “”Do not wait for our leaders to bring coexistence between our peoples. We are the responsible adults who need to ensure coexistence and peace between us, not just at an Iftar dinner, but every day. The thousands of people who are eating here with us tonight are the light which defeats the darkness, both under missiles and during tense periods”

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman noted in his speech, “I can’t think of a better place to celebrate an Iftar dinner than at SodaStream, where Muslims, Jews and Christians come to work every day in cooperation and friendship. They exemplify the peaceful coexistence that is God’s greatest blessing to all humankind.

SodaStream’s values were celebrated throughout the evening. The company lives these values, guaranteeing the provision of equal rights and wages, as well as mutual respect and understanding at all levels of the company and beyond.

During the event, the testimonials were presented by workers from the factory, who told the Island of Peace’s special story.  SodaStream also announced its unique assembly lines for prisoners in a prison near Beer Sheva.  Opened 8 months ago, the assembly lines in the Elah Prison (close to the factory) give the opportunity to people to reintegrate themselves into society while earning extra money while incarceration for themselves and their families.

SodaStream offers the highest wages permitted by prison regulations and also prizes for encouragement.  As a proof of success, it was announced that four of the prisoners who were working on this line have since been released from prison and are now employed by SodaStream, working in the factory (with equal pay and benefits) and one has even become a manager, managing 44 team members after less than two years in the company.

In addition, SodaStream announced the establishment of a new assembly line in the Kuseife Bedouin village (17.000 residents), a village which suffers from 30% unemployment, and 50% female unemployment.

Sodastream will launch an assembly line in the village in a community center to help alleviate female unemployment by encouraging the women to come to work in a friendly and female environment, their shifts ensuring they can continue to support their family and traditional needs.

Every day, Sodastream will transport the materials and parts of the sparkling water machines to the local assembly lines where the machines will be put together, including the quality checks, following which they will package the product.

It was also announced that in line with the values of women empowerment, in September 2019, a free Peace Factory daycare center will be opened at the factory. Every section will have Jewish and Arab infants learning together, celebrating holidays together, creating a next generation of children instilled with the values of peace and tolerance.

The entire night was “peace” themed. Guest chefs Segev Moshe and Jalal Salem (Segev and Toto restaurants in Tel Aviv) even created a special “peace” desert for the event and guests enjoyed interfaith performances in Hebrew and Arabic by Ketreyah, Hitam Agashei and Bat-Ella.

Guests at the Iftar came from all across the country, and included all SodaStream employees from the factory and headquarters as well as Executives from around the globe, ambassadors, CEOs from global companies based in Israel, the mayor of Rahat and local religious representatives.

SodaStream, one of the most successful businesses in the history of the Israeli economy, recently acquired by PepsiCo for $3.2 billion, proves that human values and business can and should work together.

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