January 12, 2015

Muslim Workers Increasingly Work in Kosher Stores

Jerusalem…It is no secret that an increasing number of Muslim workers are hired by kosher supermarkets in Europe, Israel and even the US. In fact, one of the heroes in the Paris attack on a kosher supermarket was Lassana Bathily, a 24-year old Muslim from Mali, who managed to hide shoppers in a basement refrigerator at the Hypercacher store. In Jerusalem, Palestinian workers can be found in supermarkets and even in the religious neighborhoods like Har Nof and Geula. The killers of the four Jews in a Har Nof synagogue worked in a nearby kosher grocery store. Several stores in Brooklyn are also said to employ Muslims from Pakistan. Despite recent events, most of these stores have not taken any action to change the employment status of Muslims. Most say that they do background checks and are secure in the knowledge that their workers are not radicals. After the Har Nof attack, there was a call in many circles to stop the hiring of Palestinians in the kosher stores. One blog wrote: “How can we hire someone who handles kosher food in the morning and dons a head covering in the evening to throw rocks at passing Jewish cars.” But then the stories of heroism like that of Mr. Bathily or the Druze cop who shot the attackers in the Har Nof Synagogue points to the fact that weeding out the good Muslims from bad Muslims is not an easy task especially when there is a demand for the labor and few takers.