Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blue and White - Made in Turkey

Every year, a new theme appears before the Israeli public dealing with the country's annual Fallen Soldier's Remembrance Day and Independence Day celebrations, which immediately follows the day when the people of Israel pay tribute to those who have fallen in battle or were victims of acts of terror. This year, the campaign takes on a familiar tone with emphasis being made to induce people to be more "blue and white" (the colors of Israel's national flag) by thinking more "Israeli". This includes listening to Israeli music, going to Israeli movies, theater, and other cultural performances; and especially in regards to purchasing products and services originating in Israel.

Along this line, a commercial being run on television stations and in cinemas is displaying a white T-shirt with a special design in blue, including a blue heart. This logo, made to resemble the horizontal stripes of our national flag, contains the words in Hebrew: Kulanu Cahol Levan, which means in English: "We are all Blue and White". While this symbolism is nice and is meant to inspire more patriotism in the Israeli public, there is one small catch: the label inside the shirt, showing who manufactured it, clearly says that these shirts are not made in Israel, but in Turkey; a country which is becoming more Islamic in its world outlook, and increasingly hostile to Israel.

The purpose of the revelation in this article, however, is not to try to generate public hostility towards a country which used to have strong personal and military ties with the Jewish State and where thousands of Israeli tourists still visit annually, despite the ravings of Turkish political officials – especially its present Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Edogan. No, the purpose of this article is to show that unfortunately fewer and fewer products can be considered as "blue and white" as it is becoming increasing harder to find things that are made in Israel; except for food and cleaning products (and even many of these are now being imported from abroad).

Most clothing sold in Israel is now imported, as it is in other countries such as in Western Europe, the U.K., and the USA. It's a sad fact of life, as most Israeli textile manufacturing companies have long since closed their doors, putting hundreds – perhaps thousands of people out of work with virtually no chance to find jobs in similar endeavors. This is also true for other products including electrical goods (long since outsourced), furniture and household consumer items, and especially in what used to be Israel's "jewel in the crown", polished diamonds and other precious stones. Try to find a diamond cutting and polishing factory in Israel today – nearly all of them are now operating in Asian countries like Thailand, India, China, and in Russia. While the owners of these factories may have names like Shlomo, Yossi and Avi, their workers do not, as the lower wages in these countries are just too enticing to try to keep these operations going in Israel.

Now, the last bastions of Israeli industrial genius, high tech industries, are themselves in danger of being outsourced to India and China. If this happens, the slogan "We are all blue – white" should be changed to another one: "we are all black and blue".

Perhaps a little more effort needs to be made to find ways of inducing more blue and white manufacturing to remain in and even return "home". For our industrial, economic and moralistic future depends on being truly "blue and white". - Headlines