New App Helps Americans Buy Israeli-made Products

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Protesters against the BDS movement during the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York, June 1, 2014.
Protesters against the BDS movement during the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York. June 1, 2014.Credit: AP

A new smartphone app, Am Yisrael Buy, helps consumers in the United States who want to support Israel find and purchase Israeli-made products, according to the website.

Created by New Jersey Rabbi Daniel Cohen, the app is an attempt to counter the international movement to boycott Israel – known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement – which has several apps that identify Israeli-made goods.

“When I learned there are BDS apps that make it easier to boycott Israeli products and goods . . . and then found there was no commensurate pro-Israel app, I just had to act,” said Rabbi Daniel Cohen of the Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange.

“There are lots of pro-Israel organizations out there, but people are mobile. They are using apps, and I thought this was the perfect way to get the information out there.”

The app, which Cohen's congregation agreed to fund using an endowment, also links to Jewish news sources and lists ways to donate to Jewish organizations.
It groups Israeli-made products in categories, such as food, apparel, cosmetics, and home goods, provides links to the websites of Israeli companies and identifies American retailers that carry the Israeli brands.

Cohen's app is already garnering wide community support. "People can use this to support Israel in a positive way, instead of always feeling like you’re fighting against something,” said Rabbi Denise Eger, president-elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, a Reform Rabbinic Organization of more than 2,300 rabbis.

“I haven’t seen another way for you to support Israel by using something that you can carry around with you in your pocket.”

Cohen said that he is not sure how many times the app, which is available on the Apple, Android, and Windows Phone platforms, has been downloaded. But, he said he hopes to connect with other activists to grow the initiative.

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