Pakistan Resumes Ties With Israel After Latest Food Deal

Pakistan food deal shipment to Israel
Photo: Mario La Pergola

On Thursday, Jewish organizations in the United States welcomed what they claim to be the first food shipments from Pakistan to Israel.

The American Jewish Congress said in a statement from its New York headquarters that the deal this week involved Jewish-Pakistani businessman Fischel Benkhard and three Israeli businessmen.

BenKhald is based in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, and runs a Jewish kosher certification firm for food manufacturers who export their products worldwide.

fished benkhald

In a statement to his VOA, BenKhald said he did not expect it to be so large, adding that this was not Pakistan’s first export to Israel.

It was also confirmed that the Israeli government and buyers had no reservations about accepting direct shipments from Pakistan.

BenKhald’s initiative has been widely publicized by his Twitter followers in Pakistan (journalists, politicians, business owners, and so on), some of whom have even sought his advice on how to sell their products to Israel. However, Pakistani officials did not immediately respond to the unusual transaction.

The American Jewish Congress applauded the move, adding that a fair hosted by the UAE assisted Pakistani and Israeli businessmen in finalizing a deal this week that would allow Pakistani supplies to Israel.

Pakistan is a recognized nuclear power, and Israel is widely suspected of having nuclear weapons. In Pakistan, Islamic groups and right-wing political parties have vehemently opposed bilateral relations with Israel over the Palestinian issue. Pakistani citizens are not permitted to visit Israel because their passport clearly states that it is valid for all countries except Israel.

BenKhald was among a group of Pakistanis who traveled to Israel last year to visit the Western Wall, a Jewish place of worship in Jerusalem. His group of 15, mainly Pakistani-Americans organized by a group of American Muslim activists in collaboration with Israeli organizations that promote ties with Islamic countries.

The visit drew criticism from Pakistan’s opposition politicians, who warned the government not to lift Islamabad’s official boycott of Israel. The backlash intensified after Israeli President Isaac Herzog, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, mentioned private meeting delegations PAK EXPATS that were held at his Jerusalem mansion in early May 2022  

Herzog also expressed gratitude for his incredible experience with Pakistani leaders in Israel, where everything was based on the Abraham Accords.

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