Supermarket discount king Rami Levy is building the first Israeli-Palestinian shopping center. Just a few hundred meters from the security fence outside Ramallah, Levy plans to recruit branches of Israeli mall chain stores in the areas of fashion, food, and other retail segments, along with Palestinian chain stores – and, of course, a Rami Levy supermarket, which will sell kosher and even mehadrin products, as the other branches in the chain do.
The project is already under construction, and Levy is said to have invested some NIS 200 million in the project so far. Speaking in an interview, Levy said that he is positive that the project will succeed. “I was the first to open in Talpiot, and now look at it. Before I came the area closed up at 5 p.m. You couldn’t even find a dog roaming the streets.”
The area, which includes Yerushalayim neighborhoods like Shuafat, Beit Hanina, Givat Ze’ev and Pisgat Ze’ev, and cities and towns like Ramallah and Beit El, includes some 200,000 residents – 120,000 Arabs and 80,000 Jews. “This will be the true face of coexistence,” said Levy. “All of Ramallah will come to shop in this center.”
Levy said he was not worried about the recent uptick in terror. “We will serve all customers regardless of who they are,” he said. “I have been in touch with Arab retailers who are very interested in renting space. There are 200,000 people here who do not have a nearby mall. This is a great central location for an underserved population. I am not concerned about safety issues. We are building a beautiful project here. The entire world will come to see what real coexistence looks like.”