Rabbis call for Blue Square boycott

One of the group's supermarket chains has branches open on Saturdays.

The committee of ultra-orthodox rabbis has made an announcement in the haredi (ultra-orthodox) press calling on the haredi public not to engage in business with the Alon Group, and supermarket chains Blue Square Israel (NYSE: BSI; TASE: BSI), and Shefa Shuk, because the AM:PM minimarket chain stays open for business on Sabbath. The Alon Group owns or controls all three chains.

In announcements published in "Yated Neeman" and "Hamodia" the committee of rabbis said "Attempts to reach agreement with the group owners to stop the public desecration of the Sabbath by AM:PM have failed. The group has announced the opening of dozens more branches in cities on the holy Sabbath, and have already started doing so, and there are those who are following in their example, which will lead to the Sabbath being desecrated everywhere." The announcement called on readers "not to have any business contacts with the aforementioned companies, including the use of gift vouchers and Kimcha Depascha (Passover charity )coupons for individuals and institutions."

The announcement was signed by the "The Committee of Rabbis Assisting the Great Authorities of Israel," a committee of nine members representing all and rabbinical councils, whose decisions are followed by all haredi groups.

The Alon Group is controlled by David Weissman, and Shraga Biran, who jointly own 38%, the Kibbutz Movement, which holds 35%, and Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY.PK), which owns 26%. The group wholly owns AM:PM, through its subsidiary Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988) Ltd. (TASE: DRAL), and it holds 70.65% of the Blue Square chain.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 12, 2008

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2008

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