The besieged Gaza Strip has been subjected to a barrage of Israeli attacks since Saturday , killing at least 313 Palestinians including at least 20 children.
Calls to boycott a popular cafe in Qatar have grown louder over the last 24 hours after its CEO made pro-Israel remarks as Tel Aviv launched a deadly bombardment on Gaza on Saturday.
The Israeli CEO of Pura Vida cafe, located on Al Maha Island, drew condemnation on Saturday after posting a message in support of Israel on his Instagram account.
Omer Horev shared an image of the Israeli flag with the slogan: “Now and always, we stand with the people of Israel!”
The Miami-based cafe opened a branch in Al Maha Island in Lusail city late last year, serving as a hotspot for foreign and local visitors.
However, the cafe’s link with Israel only emerged this weekend after Horev’s posts made the rounds on social media.
Shortly after, Horev posted a reel shared by an Israeli page showing Palestinians capturing Israeli occupation forces.
In the post, he described the Palestinians as “terrorists” before another post called Hamas “animals”.
Below the reel, Horev commented: “This is a dark day. Pray for Israel.”
The Qatari public quickly responded on social media with calls to boycott his company Pura Vida. Some called the branch’s opening in Doha as “a betrayal of the cause of the Islamic nation” while others slammed Horev’s posts as “audacious”.
“Audacious. He continues to provoke Arabs as he continues to profit from their money,” an outraged local social media user said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Other social media users called on Qatari authorities to permanently shut down the branch cafe in Qatar.
“Shame on us if the Ministry of Commerce does not shut it down. This is in line with the law of insulting and provoking society. This restaurant should be shut down and removed from Qatar,” a concerned Qatari user said.
Locals have also taken to Google Review to raise their concerns there.
One reviewer said: “It is one of the worst restaurants. Do not go there. The owner of the restaurant is a vile Zionist.”
Another echoed: “The restaurant’s owner is heartbroken over the Zionist occupation forces killing children in Palestine. So let’s break his heart more with our boycott.”
Doha News has reached out to Al Maha Island for a comment but has yet to receive a response.
An ‘extension of Israel’
Born in Israel, Horev emigrated from Tel Aviv to the United States at the age of 21 before starting his business.
The Israeli-born regularly mentions his early memories in Israel and points to the so-called Israeli cuisine as an influence for his decision to open Pura Vida.
In one interview, Horev described Pura Vida as “an extension” of Israel.
“Pura Vida is so personal, because Jen [Horev’s wife] makes it an extension of our home,” Omer told South Florida Business & Wealth in 2021.
The ingredients used in some of the menu items on Pura Vida include staples of the Palestinian cuisine, including hummus and Za’aatar or thyme—both of which Israel has repeatedly claimed to be part of its own cuisine.
Under its ethnic cleansing campaign, Israel goes as far as altering Palestinian recipes, most famously hummus, labelling the levantine delicacy as Israeli, which in turn has made the preservation of food among Palestinians an important act of resistance.
Gaza under attack
The comments by Horev comes amid unprecedented escalations in Gaza.
On Saturday, Palestinian resistance fighters infiltrated into the occupied territories and launched the biggest such attack on Israel of its kind, in response to intensifying Israeli aggression and violence against Palestinians.
Palestine’s ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ was carried out by the Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, killing at least 300 in Israel.
During the major operation, Palestinians managed to break out of fences separating Gaza and territories occupied by Israel for the first time in decades, mainly targeting the city of Sderot.
Palestinian fighters managed to capture at least 35 Israeli’s in addition to vehicles belonging to the IOF.
Hours later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to turn Gaza into a “deserted island” before launching a deadly bombardment that mainly targeted residential buildings.
At least 313 Palestinians including 20 children have been killed in Israel’s most recent war on Gaza.Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have mainly targeted residential buildings in Gaza.
The latest developments come following intensified Israeli attacks on Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the repeated settler storming of the Al-Aqsa mosque in an attempt to change the status-quo of the holy site.
Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem in a bloody war in 1967, widely known as “the six-day war” or the Naksa, which translates to the “setback”.
Within six days, the Zionist state captured the majority of Palestine while forcibly displacing at least 300,000 Palestinians.
Home to more than two million Palestinians, Gaza has faced an illegal Israeli air, land and sea blockade since 2007 and has been widely described as the world’s “largest open-air prison”.
Palestinians under siege live with limited electricity and water supplies while patients with severe illnesses struggle to exit the city for treatment as they require Israeli permits.