'Erdogan is trying to take over the Israeli market'

Israeli cement workers protest at finance ministry against flooding of Israeli market with Turkish cement. 'Let us make a decent living.'

Hezki Baruch,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Workers from the Hartuv cement company demonstrated today, Wednesday, in front of the ministry of finance against dumping that could harm their livelihood.

The workers protested the severe damage to the livelihood of hundreds of families from Beit Shemesh and the surrounding area resulting from the import of cement from Turkey and Greece at dumping prices.

According to the demonstrators, Turkish and Greek cement is currently cheaper in Israel than in the countries of origin. In light of the situation, the plant in Beit Shemesh is in danger of being closed.

The workers point a finger at the state, saying that allowing the cement to be imported only serves Turkish President Erdogan's economic interests instead of protecting Israeli industry and economy. The demonstrators called on Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to prevent the severe damage to hundreds of workers and their families.

"It does not make sense that the State of Israel told us to come to work and produce high quality cement in order to increase competition, and then it allows Erdogan to flood the country with cheaper cement than what is known in Turkey," said Avi Elimelech, chairman of the workers' union and electrical engineer at the Hartuv factory in Beit Shemesh. “It does not make sense that hundreds of families from Beit Shemesh and the surrounding area will be harmed like this. We do not seek to stop imports, we do not ask for privileges, only to do the logical and right thing, and to allow us to make a decent living and to compete fairly. "

Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, said: "Importing at dumping prices constitutes a violation of both international trade agreements and Israeli law, and today imports are severely damaging the local cement industry. Today in the state of Israel, there are only two local cement producers that employ hundreds directly and thousands of others second and third-hand, alongside a number of importers, and it is our responsibility as a state to protect them and ensure that their factories will continue to function. The existence of a local industry for the production of cement is a national interest of the highest order in every country, and in the State of Israel in particular. This, inter alia, is for reasons of state security and ensuring the ability for independent production in times of crisis," he said.

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