SodaStream is to offer 1000 Syrian refugees jobs at a new plant in Rahat, in the south of Israel, according to reports – though it is unlikely that any refugees will be able to accept the offer.
According to i24News, SodaStream has said it will take in 1000 individuals, or 200 families, and give them work so that they can make a life for themselves in Israel, just as long as the authorities approve.
Sadly that approval is unlikely to be granted. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has so far refused access to Israel to any Syrian refugees, instead committing to build an 18-mile fence along the Israeli border with Jordan.
SodaStream said it hopes the proposals will put pressure on the Israeli government to rethink their stance. Daniel Birnbaum, SodaStream CEO, told the Israeli financial paper Calcalist that the idea was consistent with SodaStream’s history of humanitarian efforts.
"Just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees," Birnbaum said.
He claims the company has done its best to help people in the West Bank despite the furore when SodaStream was found to be labelling products from occupied territory 'Made In Israel'. It subsequently promised to change the labelling to 'Made in the West Bank'.
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