Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Apparently IKEA is also Arabic for common sense

Can Israelis and Palestinians come together over Billy book cases? 

Word came earlier
IKEA's Netanya outlet is massively popular.
this week that IKEA, the gargantuan Swedish purveyor of sometimes flimsy, do-it-yourself furniture, is considering opening a store in Ramallah, the West Bank commercial hub of the Palestinian Authority.

IKEA is already enormously popular among Israelis, with two huge stores in Netanya and Rishon Lezion and plans for a third in Kiryat Ata next year. The Netanya outlet reopened in the spring of 2012 after being destroyed by a fire a year earlier.

But now it seems that Palestinians, too, may soon experience the joys of cheap-chic Swedish design, along with the frustration of trying to assemble a complex piece of furniture armed only with a rudimentary Allen key.

Two IKEA executives reportedly visited Ramallah in June and met with PA Economic Minister Jawad al-Naji, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot.

IKEA reportedly plans to have the Ramallah employees train at the Netanya store, which has an employee training centre, the paper reported.

It wouldn't be the first IKEA outlet in an Arab land. IKEA already has stores Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab emirates, while an Egyptian outlet is scheduled to open this fall.

Jewish Canadian businessman Matthew Bronfman, IKEA's Israel franchisee, was updated by company executives on the talks with the Palestinian Authority.

“If asked, we’ll be happy to help establish the store,” he told Yediot.

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