Nicky Blackburn
September 24, 2015, Updated October 21, 2015

Israeli home beverage company SodaStream is offering jobs to Syrian refugees at its factory near the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert.

According to the announcement, which was made with Talal Al-Krenawi, the mayor of Rahat, SodaStream and Rahat can effectively absorb 1,000 people, or up to 200 families, giving them jobs and an opportunity to create a new life for themselves in Israel.

“As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria,” said SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum in a recent statement.

“Just as we have always done our best to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters in the West Bank, the time has come for local business and municipal leaders to address the Syrian humanitarian crisis and take the initiative to help those in need. We cannot expect our politicians to bear the entire burden of providing aid for the refugees.”

“Human dignity and hospitality are core values in our culture and we will not allow indifference to the suffering of others,” added Al-Krenawi. “In this first stage, we will be able to receive 1,000 refugees, and then through ongoing collaboration with SodaStream, we plan to help more. Our hope is that the government will then support our joint effort.”

SodaStream’s offer has still to be approved by the Israeli Government. Syria is still formally at war with Israel.

Rahat is the largest Bedouin town in the world with a population of 55,000. SodaStream moved its factory to the city over a year ago after shutting its controversial factory in the West Bank. Today some 30 percent of SodaStream’s 1,100 workforce in the factory are residents of the town.

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