From Bill Sutter’s Desk Jul/Aug 2003
If you were to shop in Norway today, you would see all Israeli products clearly identified as being from Israel. They are being singled out, not to make them easier to purchase, but to make them easier to boycott.
One of the strategies of Israel’s enemies involves organized boycotts of Israeli products. And unfortunately, these efforts are weakening the already strained economy of the Jewish state. Traditionally, Europe has been Israel’s largest market for exported goods. But as boycotts spread throughout the continent, the picture is changing.
Germany is canceling orders with Israeli firms. And France, Belgium, and other European countries are increasingly hostile not only to the State of Israel but also to their own Jewish citizens.
As Christians, we know that the Lord is Israel’s protector. Psalm 121:4 says, “Behold, he who keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Yet James tells us, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?” (Jas. 2:14). We are in the unique position today of being able to add specific works to our faith to counter these destructive boycotts, help boost Israel’s slumping economy, and tangibly demonstrate our support for Israel in its time of need.
Israel’s enemies say, “Boycott Israel.” We say, “Shop Israel!”
Paula Joffe, executive director of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia, visited The Friends of Israel recently and explained her organization’s mission in serving as a catalyst for business between the United States and Israel.
One of the Chamber’s projects has been to sponsor Mitzvah Malls, also known as Shop Israel programs. The tourism industry has virtually collapsed in Israel. Shopkeepers and craftspeople are among those struggling to survive. So the Chamber arranges for groups of Israeli merchants to come to strategic locations throughout the United States to set up one-and two-day “malls” to sell their goods.
The Friends of Israel supported a Shop Israel program at the Jewish Community Center in nearby Cherry Hill, New Jersey. There we met dozens of grateful Israeli merchants who brought a fabulous array of products, all made in Israel. Several local churches announced the event, and scores of Christians joined local Jewish residents in purchasing Israeli products.
If you do not live near a Shop Israel event, you can buy Israeli consumer goods online by visiting www.israelexport.org, www.shopinisrael.com, or www.usaisrael.org. If you want to send flowers, try www.aleidafna.co.il. Also, as you patronize the stores where you usually shop, don’t hesitate to ask specifically for items made in Israel. Make it known that you want to buy Israeli-made goods.
Christian businesspeople, too, can become vitally involved. Israel is an industrialized nation, much like the United States. It is characterized by advanced technology. “Every time we turn on our computers, we are using technology developed in Israel. Pentium® 3 and Pentium® 4 computer chips were developed by Intel Israel,” said Mrs. Joffe.
Israel is a world leader in software development, and its Web design firms are among the finest. Israel’s medical and biotechnological sectors are among the most advanced in the world. And Israel benefits from some of the most talented people in the world, including Jewish scientists from Russia and other areas of the former Soviet Union who were denied positions in their former countries because of their religion. Doing business with Israeli companies is good business.
Business people can review their inventories to determine what is being stocked now and see if it can be purchased from Israel. Distributors can add Israeli products to their lines. Whether you’re looking for medical apparatus, automotive equipment, jewelry, clothing, skin-care products, or toys and games, there is likely an Israeli manufacturer with products to complement your existing inventory.
The possibilities abound. There is even a kibbutz in Israel that specializes in manufacturing church pews.
If you would like to explore the opportunities, contact the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, 200 South Broad Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA, 19102. Or call 215-790-3722. The Chamber facilitates investment and trade with Israel. Be sure to identify yourself as a Christian who supports Israel. And mention The Friends of Israel too!