The corporate responsibility challenge in Israel
by Momo Mahadav, Maala CEO, published by the Guardian
The Israeli organisation, Maala, has cancelled its annual CSR conference as a result of huge demonstrations calling for social justice. Here CEO Momo Mahadav explains how business can rise to the challenge
Over the past four months, Israel has seen the rise of the largest movement for social and economic change in the country’s history.
In a spontaneous outburst that predated the Occupy movements, but followed closely on the heels of the Spanish indignados and the Arab Spring revolutions, Israelis took to the streets this summer en masse calling for a new social compact, based on greater social justice.
At its peak, the movement brought half a million demonstrators out into the streets – a staggering feat in a country of less than 8 million people – while opinion polls revealed over 90% support for its goals among the general public.
Few saw it coming. Israel’s economic indicators were, and continue to be, strong. Unemployment is low compared with the West, and Israel has largely ducked the chaos associated with the global economic crisis.
Yet, dissatisfaction was simmering just below the surface. Just a month before the protest movement exploded onto the scene, Israel saw its first ever successful consumer boycott, a Facebook-based campaign to lower the price of cottage cheese, a staple good.