Kosher Grocery Store Fires Worker for Blasting Israel

Everfresh Boss Trumpets Dismissal — But Is It Legal?

By Rachel X. Landes

Published July 24, 2014.

A worker was fired from his job at a Long Island kosher grocery store after he angered a customer by denouncing Israel.

The owner of Everfresh announced the worker’s abrupt firing after a customer complained about the views he expressed about the Jewish state on July 7.

“We are embarrassed that it happened in our store,” owner Abraham Banda said in a Facebook post. “We’d like you to know that the employee who made these statements was fired today.”

Banda emphasized that the views of the one former employee do not reflect the values of Everfresh, and spoke about two of his children and grandchild who are currently residing in Israel amidst the Gaza war.

Yesterday, Everfresh posted a sign on their page which reads “Great Neck to Israel: We Stand With You.” The sign indicated that all donations made by customers to the Israel Defense Forces will be matched by Everfresh.

A representative of Everfresh declined to comment further to the Forward.

It’s not clear if the firing is lawful. Workers are generally protected from being punished for expressing their opinions even if they conflict with those of customers or owners, an official with the New York Civil Liberties Union said.

The brouhaha started when Nahid Akins was shopping in Everfresh and she noticed that only Yiddish music had been playing inside the store. She asked the worker to switch to Israeli tunes.

“It’s better to play some Israeli music right now that Israel is under attack [and] Hamas is trying to eliminate us,” she said.

He told her in Hebrew, “Let them. Israel is not our country,” and “Israel does not exist.”

Akins was shocked by the anti-Israel sentiments, and engaged in a verbal confrontation with the employee until he asked her to leave the store. Later that day, she posted a description of the incident on Everfresh’s facebook page. Which has since garnered 9 likes and 32 comments.

Support for Israel is not as universal as many might think in the ultra-Orthodox community. The Satmars are one of the larger Hasidic groups that reject the Jewish state.

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