Meretz Rep Backs Down on Kosher Restaurant Boycott

YERUSHALAYIM -
Raanana. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90
Ra’anana, Israel. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Meretz over the weekend disassociated itself from a social media post by a member of the Ra’anana city council who called for a boycott of a restaurant in the city that became kosher and shomer Shabbos. The post by the Meretz representative on the council, Idit Diamant, “does not reflect the party’s position,” Meretz’s official online information resource said. “We apologize for the misunderstanding and we are sorry if anyone was hurt by it.”

The mini-brouhaha developed over the weekend, when a social media post by Diamant was publicized on several news sites. “Starting this weekend, the River Restaurant in Ra’anana has become kosher and is closing on Shabbos. From what I understand, new owners have taken over and the matter is important to them. As a long-time customer of the restaurant, and due to the fact that there are few restaurants in Ra’anana open Friday night – and even fewer that deliver – I have been personally harmed by this change, and I absolutely refuse to eat there anymore. I call on all those to whom this is important to do as I do. It is vital that the secular residents of Ra’anana make their opinions known and avoid this place, if we want to be taken seriously.”

If Diamant was expecting a wave of support from secular residents, she was mistaken – quite the opposite happened, with both religious and secular residents of the city slamming her for “shocking behavior.” One Meretz member wrote in response that “there is nothing wrong with people resting on the traditional day of rest of our faith, and any business that decides to do this deserves our support.”

Another post said that “the Jews of France who have moved to Ra’anana to escape anti-Semitism have now run into the open arms of the anti-Semitism of Meretz.” A third person wrote that “as a Meretz voter and supporter I am ashamed that such hate is associated with our party.” Yet another thanked Diamant for “the good tip on another kosher restaurant in the city. If you hear of any others please update us so we can know where to get a good meal.”

After a flaccid attempt to change the post, Diamant finally gave up and removed it. Responding to the criticism, the local chapter of the party emphasized that the post “was the opinion of an individual. Our platform encourages freedom of expression and action, and promoting weekend activity in places of entertainment. With that, we respect the legitimate rights of all people to act as they believe.”