SodaStream and the Bedouin Town of Rahat, Israel Reach Out to Help Syrian Asylum Seekers
Daniel Birnbaum, Chief Executive Officer of SodaStream, and Talal Al-Krenawi, Mayor of Rahat, Prepare to Activate a First-Step Program to House Refugees and Offer Employment at SodaStream's Nearby Factory
AIRPORT CITY, Israel, Sept. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- SodaStream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA), the leading global manufacturer and distributor of home sparkling water makers, together with Talal Al-Krenawi, mayor of the Bedouin city of Rahat in the south of Israel, have announced a joint effort to offer immediate asylum to refugees from Syria, pending Israeli authorities' approval. SodaStream and Rahat can effectively absorb 1,000 individuals, or up to 200 families, and provide them with an opportunity to build a new life in Israel.
As a flood of refugees from war-torn Syria strikes Europe's gates in what has been described as one of the most significant humanitarian crises since World War II, Birnbaum's and Al-Krenawi's efforts are part of what they claim should be a loud and clear call-to-action among municipal leaders and the global business community to provide assistance for asylum seekers.
"As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria," said Birnbaum. "Just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees."
Al-Krenawi is the mayor of Rahat, a city of 55,000 and the largest Bedouin city in the world. At the present time, 30 percent of the 1,100 workers in SodaStream's nearby factory are residents of Rahat.
"We enjoy a progressive, urban lifestyle in Rahat; however, we haven't abandoned our culture and our tribal traditions," said Al-Krenawi. "Human dignity and hospitality are core values in our culture and we will not allow indifference to the suffering of others. In this first stage, we will be able to receive 1,000 refugees, and then through ongoing collaboration with SodaStream, we plan to help more. Our hope is that the government will then support our joint effort."
SodaStream is the world's leading manufacturer and distributor of Sparkling Water Makers, which enable consumers to easily transform ordinary tap water into sparkling water and flavored sparkling water in seconds. By making ordinary water more exciting and fun to drink, SodaStream helps consumers drink more water.
Sparkling Water Makers offer a highly differentiated and innovative solution to consumers of bottled and canned carbonated soft drinks. The products promote health and wellness, are environmentally friendly, cost effective, and are customizable and fun to use. Products are available at more than 70,000 retail stores across 45 countries, including 15,000 retail stores in the United States. To learn more about how SodaStream makes water exciting and follow SodaStream on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, visit www.sodastream.com.