Tag Archives: West Bank

Jew of the Week: Rami Levy

Israeli Supermarket King and Palestinian Hero

Rami Levy (b. 1955) was born in Jerusalem to an impoverished Iraqi-Jewish family. After completing his military service, he took over his grandfather’s failing grocery stall at the local market. He decided to slash his prices and sell without profit for the first three months to attract customers. After that, he continued operating at wholesale prices, becoming Israel’s first official discount store. A few years later, he was able to open a bigger, second location, and in 1992 his first supermarket, Rami Levy Shivuk HaShikma, named after himself and the street where his first shop was located. He has since expanded to 44 locations across Israel. He also operates 4 locations in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) that, despite being boycotted by the Palestinian Authority, employ Palestinian workers at double the wages of other supermarkets in the area, and are hugely popular among Palestinian shoppers who appreciate the low prices. More recently, he opened a shopping mall on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where a third of the stores are Palestinian-owned. Rami Levy has supported Jewish settlements in the area and does not see them as a barrier to peace, because he strongly believes Jews and Arabs can coexist no matter where they live, and peace can be achieved through Palestinian economic development. He has been described as “the Israeli supermarket king that became a Palestinian hero”. Today, Rami Levy supermarkets are famous for their clever marketing and epic pre-holiday sales (for example, chickens, apples, and honey for less than a shekel per kilo before one Rosh Hashanah). The company went public in 2007, and has since expanded into clothing, real estate, and cellular communications, becoming Israel’s fourth mobile network. They are even trying to develop a home-delivery system using drones. Rami Levy Shivuk HaShikma is now the third largest supermarket chain in the country.

Recognizing and Fighting Fake News About Israel

Words of the Week

The state and progress of the Jews, from their earliest history to the present time, has been so entirely out of the ordinary course of human affairs, is it not then a fair conclusion, that the cause also is an extraordinary one—in other words, that it is the effect of some great providential plan?
– Alexander Hamilton

Jew of the Week: Noad Lahat

IDF Soldier & UFC Fighter

Noah Lahat (Image Credit: UFC.ca)

Noah Lahat (Image Credit: UFC.ca)

Noad “Neo” Lahat (b. 1984) was born in Alfei Menashe, Israel, the son of two former IDF generals. He began practicing Judo when he was 5 years old. After serving for three and a half years in the Israeli Army, Lahat started learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu and by 2010 was the world champion in the sport. Having earned two black belts (in judo and jiu-jitsu), he was introduced to mixed martial arts by a friend. Lahat moved to San Jose and began training with the American Kickboxing Academy. He was undefeated in all of his mixed martial arts bouts when he was finally invited to the UFC. Although he lost his first match, Lahat came back for a second go on July 26 and earned his first UFC victory. He is now on his way back to Israel, choosing to go back to the IDF and help the Israeli Army in the current Gaza conflict. This was a purely voluntary decision that has won him the admiration of many. In his post-victory interview Lahat said, “My mom and my dad have 15 seconds to run to get shelter when missiles are falling on them, and I’m here in sunny California. I love California, but I need to go and defend my home… As a combat soldier, there’s nothing I want more in the world than peace… I don’t want to see more killing and more blood. The only blood [should be] in the Octagon.”

Words of the Week

It’s just another round of this ridiculous game. Hamas are shooting at us. We try to respond, but we can’t because most of the world… don’t let us finish the job and take Hamas down. So we stop, and then they’re shooting again.
– Noad Lahat