Ice cream (illustration)
Ice cream (illustration)Thinkstock

The largest ice cream factory in the Middle East will be built in the city of Arad in southern Israel, Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced on Thursday.

The factory, which will employ 250 people, will be built by food giant Osem.

Arad, located 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of the Dead Sea, has been in the news in recent days as a veteran towel factory located in the city, Arad Towels, closed down after 40 years, resulting in 200 workers being laid off.

The laid off employees have urged the government to find a solution for them and the topic has been making headlines, especially in the wake of the ongoing protests over the cost of living.

Osem, of which 51% is owned by the Swiss food company Nestlé, responded to Lapid’s request to set up the new ice cream plant in Arad, which has been suffering from a rise in unemployment, especially in the wake of the closure of Arad Towels. Some of the 250 employees of the ice cream plant will be former employees of Arad Towels.

Zvi Oren, president of the Israel Manufacturers Association, welcomed Osem’s move, saying, “The industry has proven once again that it is there when you need it. We congratulate [Osem founder] Dan Propper and Osem on the initiative and the decision to assist the city of Arad and its residents.”

"The investment in Arad is estimated at 200 million shekels and it will be the largest and most advanced ice cream factory of its kind in the Middle East. The success and development of the Nestlé ice cream in Israel in recent years has allowed Osem to respond to the call of the Minister of Finance and mobilize quickly in favor of the city of Arad," said Osem CEO Itzik Tzaig.