JERUSALEM – Numerous Israeli companies have begun either to sever or to suspend their commercial relations with Turkey in the wake of the flotilla to Gaza.

Dafna, a clothing company, canceled its plans to build a production factory in Turkey and decided to stop importing fabric from Turkey. “The incidents of the flotilla this week were the straw that broke us,” said yesterday Zvika Levinson, one of the owners of Dafna. “We wanted to transfer a production line to Turkey, but now there’s no chance. Our trade in fabric with Turkey has also dropped to zero. I’m in the process of looking into new markets in Taiwan and Eastern Europe.”

Eran Siv, the chairman of the Association of Renovation Contractors and the owner of Even Siv, which imports stones and other raw materials from Turkey to be sold in Israel, has decided to stop all activity with Turkey and canceled a scheduled business trip there. “I import from a Turkish supplier a very popular stone, which is intended mainly for swimming pools. In the wake of the new tension, I canceled the orders and I placed them instead with an Egyptian stone supplier. I won’t let the Turks make money on our backs.”

The veteran construction company Almogim has also decided to stop buying construction materials from Turkey. Gandi Gurevich, the CEO of Almogim, said that that decision had begun to crystallize in recent months in response to the worsening of relations and the displays of Turkish anti-Semitism, but a final decision was only made this week. He said that Almogim used to buy toilets, sinks, bathtubs, bath tiles, marble and other products from Turkey. Now, he said, no Turkish-made products would be bought to be installed in any new construction projects; instead, those products would be purchased in Eastern Europe and the Far East.

A large energy company also decided this week that it would scale back its activity in Turkey. The CEO, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity because of a company branch in Istanbul, said yesterday, “We’ve recalled our representative from Turkey. Most of our new activity will be directed from now on towards Greece because of the political climate.”

The Israeli fashion company, Discrete, imports viscose fabric from Turkey. Yaakov Ganai, the director general and owner of the chain, said, “For the moment, I haven’t decided on an absolute termination of work, but I definitely understand that there is a serious problem and I am very leery of flying to Turkey in the shadow of the crisis, and my business obliges me to get an impression of the products and to have frontal working relations. I’m trying to figure out a different solution.”

Chairman of the Israel-Turkey Chamber of Commerce Menashe Carmon said, “We’ve stopped a few projects in real estate, research and development and energy. Israeli companies that are considering establishing factories in Turkey and partnerships are now going to think twice; there is an enormous volume of future activities that are now going to be either reexamined or are going to be stopped.

The refinery in Haifa is also liable to suffer as a result in the deterioration of relations with Turkey. The refinery reported yesterday that between seven and nine percent of its volume of projected sales in 2010 was earmarked for the Turkish market. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the refinery said, “Sales activities in Turkey in the various areas of activity are proceeding regularly.” The refinery is preparing itself to find alternative markets.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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