Itongadol.- The biggest kosher supermarket in Germany opened in Berlin several days, on the backdrop of the European Commission\’s decision to label goods produced in Israeli settlements. The store, which measures over 400 square meters (4,300 square feet) in size, will offer quite a few products from Israel, including products made in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.
The opening of the Daily Markt was made possible thanks to a unique cooperation between non-Jewish German businessman Asan Mytev and Jewish entrepreneurs, who have no intention of giving into the anti-Israel atmosphere, with the help of Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the rabbi of Berlin\’s Jewish community.
The entrepreneurs have announced that supermarket, which is located in the Charlottenburg district in the heart of the German capital, will sell only kosher products, some of which are imported from Israel.
Despite the security situation in the continent, along with the recent EU decision and public\’s demand to label and boycott Israeli goods produced in the settlements, the Daily Markt owners sound optimistic: "We will not be deterred by the security situation," says Evgeny Bort, co-partner and manager of the store. "It doesn’t scare us and we don’t linger on it or pay attention to it. We can’t let terrorism stop us and interfere with our lives."
Settlement products despite customers\’ protest
As for the issue of Israeli products, the supermarket\’s managers seem determined not to follow the new dictations. They say that despite the negative comments they have been receiving on the subject, they will not refrain from selling Israeli-imported goods.
"We have many customers who respond negatively when they realize that some of our products come from Israel, because they think they are imported from the West Bank. We tell them that this is none of our concern and that we are here to assist all those who wish to shop for kosher products but find the task to be very difficult."
Asked what makes a non-Jewish person open the biggest kosher supermarket in Germany, Mytev replies: "It’s not very easy to find kosher products in Berlin. Until now, anyone who wanted to buy kosher products was forced to visit several different stores in order to find them all.
"If you wanted to buy dairy products, you had to visit a store which sells kosher dairy products. If you wanted to buy meat, you had to go to a deli which sells kosher meats. In fact, for all of those customers who wish to buy only kosher products, the seemingly simple task of grocery shopping is actually a very difficult one. The Daily Markt provides them with a solution to this problem, enabling them to buy all kinds of kosher products under one roof."
\’Affordable prices attract non-Jewish customers too\’
The owners add that due to the supermarket\’s size, they are able to provide a large variety of products in decent prices, despite the import costs. "We have decided to sell everything here", says Bort, "and to import good from all over the world – from Europe, The US and also from Israel."
According to Bort and Mytev, the store attracts non-Jewish costumers as well. "Almost half of our non-Jewish costumers come here because of our affordable prices, regardless of the kosher issue. The idea is to sell kosher goods, which are usually more expensive than the non-kosher ones, in regular and affordable prices.
"Also, a large number of our non-Jewish customers come here because of our \’parve\’ products, which are known to be lactose-free. Like in the United States, the local population in Germany is also starting to realize that kosher is a standard for high-quality and healthy products. The Germans prefer buying kosher products because they want to be sure that their food doesn’t have any traces of insects and other health hazards in it."
Rabbi Teichtal fails to hide his satisfaction with the new initiative as well. "Although in the past our people have faced very difficult times in Europe in general and in Germany in particular," he says, "the necessary arrangements for maintaining the Jewish life were always made.
Although the situation today is quite different, we are still facing security challenges, but they do not discourage us.
"The new supermarket is another addition to the current line of Jewish institutions in the Berlin community, which together enable us to maintain a full Jewish life in the city. As observant Jews, we see this not only as a duty but also as a privilege."