Aug. 3, 2018
Economic Peace in the West Bank – Daphna Krause
In 1997, the Achva Halva factory moved from Tel Aviv to the Ariel Industrial Zone in the West Bank. It employs 240 people, 60% of whom are Palestinians. “We keep the politics and all the other issues outside the factory,” said Yoav Mallach, the factory’s operations manager. “Here everyone is equal: there is no religion, no history. Keep everything, all the conflict outside. Here everyone works in complete harmony.” Mallach says the average monthly salary for Palestinians who work in similar Palestinian factories is around 2,000 shekels. At Achva, the base salary is 8,000 shekels.
Mujahed Ahmed, who lives in a village 20 minutes from the factory, said, “I enjoy working here. There are no Palestinians, no Israelis; everyone is working together. You don’t find the conditions everywhere that you do in this factory.” Ahmed is manager of the packaging department, where he works with two of his brothers and 10 cousins. “Every day I get around 20 phone calls” from people asking to work there.
65 Palestinians and 35 Israelis work at Lipski Plastics in Barkan’s industrial area. CEO Yehuda Cohen came here 11 years ago. “I found that if you give a Palestinian employee a fair salary, conditions and respect, you get wonderful people. It’s a win-win situation: I need workers and the workers need work.” (Jerusalem Post)