SodaStream is offering 1,000 jobs to Syrian refugees—but Israel won’t let it happen

Employees work at the new SodaStream factory in Israel’s Negev Desert.
Employees work at the new SodaStream factory in Israel’s Negev Desert.
Image: AP Photo/Dan Balilty
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SodaStream, an Israeli company that makes machines for carbonating water at home, is offering jobs to 1,000 Syrian refugees. According to the Israeli news site i24 News, the company announced that it would employee 1,000 people—or up to 200 families—in the southern Israeli town of Rahat, where its newly opened factory is located.

However, the move has to be approved by Israeli officials—and such a move is unlikely, considering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s thus far unyielding stance on not taking in any Syrian refugees.

SodaStream has come under under fire from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for operating a factory in the occupied West Bank, which it recently closed. CEO Daniel Birnbaum maintained throughout the wave of criticism that the factory helped Palestinian families by employing hundreds of Palestinians alongside Jews and paying them equal wages.

“As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria,” Birnbaum said in a statement. He also told the Hebrew daily Calcalist that the offer should put pressure on the Israeli government to consider offering asylum to Syrian refugees.