An American Jewish organization celebrated the “first shipment” of food supplies from Pakistan that arrived in Israel.
The trade last week included Pakistani-Jewish businessman Fishel BenKhald and three Israeli businesses, according to a statement issued by the American Jewish Congress from its New York offices, reports Voice of America.
BenKhald resides in Karachi, where he manages a Jewish kosher certification business for food makers selling to international markets. Last Tuesday, he announced the unusual trade on Twitter, the VOA report said.
The trader shared a video of his products, which included dates, dried fruit, and spices, on display in a Jerusalem market. The video has subsequently received over 640,000 views.
"I was not expecting it to be taken that big of a deal," BenKhald said in written comments to VOA, adding that this was not the first export of Pakistani products to Israel.
"The Israeli government and buyers have no problem accepting the direct shipment from Pakistan,” he said, adding that Israel does not have a problem sending payments to Pakistani banks, said the report.
BenKhald's attempt was largely lauded by Pakistani Twitter users, who included journalists, politicians, and businesses, some of whom sought his assistance on how to market their products to Israel. He tried to respond to every communication, it added.
Pakistani officials did not immediately comment on the unusual exchange.
Islamabad has no diplomatic relations with Israel and refuses to recognize it as a sovereign state until the state of Palestine is created, a position shared by many Muslim-majority nations.
Nevertheless, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established ties with Israel in 2020 as part of the Abraham Accords, which were brokered by the United States. Sudan and Morocco followed suit.
"Trade exhibits hosted by the UAE helped Pakistani and Israeli businessmen conclude a deal that enabled this week's Pakistani shipment to Israel," the American Jewish Congress noted. "We welcome this small step that can have wider implications for Israeli and Pakistani economies and for the region at large."
Pakistan is a recognized nuclear power, while Israel is commonly believed to possess nuclear weapons. Since their foreign ministers met publicly in 2005, the two nations have had secret discussions on security matters. Pakistani Islamist organizations and right-wing parties are adamantly opposed to establishing formal relations with Israel over the Palestinian issue, the report also said.
Pakistani people are barred from visiting Israel since their passport plainly states that they are valid for all nations except Israel.