Soda factory promotes Mideast peace

It is a factory that builds a "do-it-yourself" carbonated-water maker.

SodaStream is an Israeli-based company that has set up shop in the West Bank and is building more than just fizzy water makers. It is building a bridge between Palestinians and Israelis.

The factory employs Jews that work side-by-side with Arabs and pays its Palestinian workers Israeli wages and Israeli benefits, which is often four times as much as Palestinians would earn elsewhere in the West Bank.

"If we find a job in the Palestinian Authority for good work, for good money, we will work there. But we don't have that work," says SodaStream shift manager Nabeel Besharat.

Although SodaStream has recently become the focus of various boycott campaigns because the Israeli-run factory is built inside the West Bank, the company’s CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, believes that his factory is doing a great deal of good by creating peaceful relationships.

"My kids are Facebook friends with the children and some of the employees that we have at this factory, and before that, my kids did not know a single Palestinian person, and neither did the children of the Palestinians who work here," he says.

"So these relationships are so important because in the end, there will be peace among people."


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