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Is Chutzot Hayozter being Chutzot Ha-unfair?

by josh August 04 2008

Next Monday's two-week Chutzot Hayotzer, marketed as an international arts fair, might ironically be more local than it's touted as being. It's the kind of doublethink that leads a tiny Florida airfield that shuttles one flight to Cuba to bill itself as international.

Despite having submitted all of the requisite paperwork, vendor Yitzhak Moshik-Levy claims that Chutzot Hayotzer's planners have unfairly declined his application to sell his wares this year. Moshik-Levy, who sells wooden handicrafts imported from Thailand, was left off this year's vendor list, because, according to City Hall's spokespeople, "This year the committee decided to give preferential treatment to original Israeli artists."

But Moshik-Levy says he knows the truth. He says he’s been passed over because his prices were just too damn low at last year's fair, enraging other vendors who apparently have not read up on their Adam Smith.You will not find Thai wood structures at reasonable prices at Chutzot HaYozter this year.

Yitzhak Moshik-Levy said that vendors at last year's fair had complained about him to the fair's director, after he sold high-quality wooden products that he had imported directly from Thailand at more than 50 percent below the prices of the other vendors.

Moshik-Levy, who works as a part-time taxi driver and spends several months a year in the Far East, said that his request to operate a stand at this year's fair - which requires a NIS 5,000 payment - was turned down without explanation by Ariel, the company that runs the fair….

Moshik-Levy called the city's response disingenuous, and wondered aloud whether there would be no foreign products sold at the event.

This guy's understandably upset, and we do know that in Jerusalem, things shrouded in red tape are managed like old boys' clubs, but that doesn't mean that Moshik-Levy's conspiracy theory gripes are necessarily accurate. Regardless, this wouldn't be the first time the invisible hand has been slapped away in favor of "consumer protection." But aren't Israelis supposed to love a good deal? Protocols of the Elders of Zion aside, just have a the names of some of our grocery stores as an example. Instead of ones that emphasize quality and WASPiness, we've got ones with names that call attention to how cheap and shuk-like they are.

Jerusalemite's coverage of Chutzot Hayotzer continues later this week.

Photo courtesy of Brivey from Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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