War Casts Pall on Israeli Business Overseas, Tourism

Turkey reject pressure from MPs to cancel security contracts with Israel.

Operation Cast Lead is taking a toll on Israeli business overseas. Although there have been no reported cancelations of existing deals, the union of Turkish cooperatives, affiliated with the Turkish Agriculture Ministry, announced on its Web site Thursday it would place an embargo on financing purchases from Israel. The organization offers subsidies to farmers in place of the state agricultural bank. With such an embargo, Turkish farmers will prefer to buy their agricultural supplies from other sources.

Israel's commercial attache in Turkey, Doron Abrahami, said that although it is very difficult to develop new business in Turkey, no cancelations of existing contracts had been reported.

Turkeys government rejected pressure from MPs to cancel security contracts with Israel. Nevertheless, the Israel Manufacturers Association recently reported that 30 furniture manufacurers canceled a trip to Istanbul in view of safety concerns.

Britain has seen isolated instances of companies refusing to deal with Israeli companies. "There have been two or three small information technology companies that refused proposals by Israeli companies to do business," reports Israel's commercial attache in Britain, Gil Erez.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken an unequivocal stance in favor of Israel and against Hamas, which appears to have contributed to the mood of doing business with Israel, says Israel's commercial attache. Nevertheless, there have been some cancelations of planned visits to Israel from January through May, due to the security situation.

In Paris and New York, there were similar reports. While there have been no major shifts in commercial activity between Israel and local businesses so far, the shadow from the war in the south could grow longer.