Fast food chain McDonald’s is the biggest loser from its own decision to boycott the city of Ariel, Mayor Eliyahu Shviro said on Thursday.
Shviro spoke to Arutz Sheva a day after Israeli businessman Omri Padan, who owns the rights to the generally non-kosher McDonald’s franchise in Israel, refused to open a branch of the restaurant in a new Ariel mall because of its location east of the 1949 Armistice line (also known as the “Green Line”).
"There is no place in our country for boycotts, it's a miserable decision. We condemn any boycott which comes from ideological motives," he said.
Shviro said that not having a McDonald’s in Ariel was no big loss, as there were enough big chains lining up to open branches in the city’s new mall.
"We are a strong enough city, We have a university with 13 thousand students and thousands of residents who live here. There are enough chains that want to come here instead of McDonald's. Burger Ranch is apparently willing to take its place," he said.
Anyone who boycotts Ariel, said Shviro, ultimately harms peace efforts with the Arabs more than he harms the city.
“When they wanted to boycott the Ariel University they also hurt the Arab students who study there,” he noted. “When factories chose to boycott the industrial zone in Ariel, they hurt the Arab workers who make five times what they earn in PA cities like Shechem and Ramallah.”
Shviro added, "If they boycott us, then the Palestinian employee ends up being fired and returns to violence. If that's what they want – let them go ahead. We are the ones who really demonstrate how to make peace and how to co-exist. Anyone who hurts Jews also hurts the Arabs because co-existence comes from below."
The Mayor noted that all attempts to boycott Ariel to date have failed miserably, pointing out an attempt several years ago by leftist actors to boycott Ariel's cultural center which fizzled out with time.
"We have a university that is thriving, the boycott of the cultural center failed, and there are shows from both Israel and abroad taking place there all the time,” said Shviro. “The mall will open and succeed as well. [Businessman] Rami Levy (who will operate the new mall) recognizes the potential of Ariel’s residents and students, and I hope the government will give us the opportunity to build and develop because the city of Ariel has the potential to triple itself.”
Meanwhile, activists have called to boycott McDonald's over the refusal to open a branch in Ariel.
Demonstrators protesting the McDonald's decision called to consume Israeli Burger Ranch fast food in branches across Israel in response.