Tel Aviv Coop Builds on Tent City

Across Israel, Social Justice Movement Founds Collectives

By Haaretz

Published April 29, 2012.
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On Sunday, the first members’ assembly will be held for a Tel Aviv co-op, to be called Bar Kayma (Hebrew for “sustainable”), in which its members will vote on its menu, location and design.

The prices paid for food and drink at the new co-op will only cover the cost of production, while guests will be charged market prices. A half liter of beer, for example, will cost members NIS 15, while non-members will pay NIS 25. The pub’s seven employees will earn fair wages, and administrative decisions will be make by vote only. The co-op will serve only vegan food, a decision reached during the new institution’s founding conference.

The pub’s founders are Yigal Ramban and Julian Feder, both of whom were leading activists in last summer’s social protests. They sit in an Indian restaurant at Hamashbir Street 22 in south Tel Aviv’s Florentine neighborhood, where the pub is meant to be located, recruiting potential shareholders.

Rambam and Feder’s role models for this very modern enterprise hark back to the beginning of Zionism. They note the symbolism in the fact that the Yishuv’s first cooperative, which was founded in 1916, was called Hamashbir, the same name as the street on which they plan to found their co-op.

“Thanks to these cooperatives, Israel is not a third world country,” according to Rambam. “Since the summer, people understand that cooperative work is a winning proposition.”

For more, go to Haaretz.com


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