Vegetable stand at Mahane Yehuda Market. Jerusalem, Nov 7, 2019. (Yehonatan Valtser/TPS) (Yehonatan Valtser/TPS)
Mahane Yehuda

As Machane Yehuda turns 100, it forms a confederation with other historic world markets to preserve their traditions while embracing modern commerce.

By Abigail Klein Leichman, ISRAEL21c

When Massimo Manetti, president of the 150-year-old Central Market in Florence, approached Machane Yehuda Merchants Association President Tali Friedman about establishing an International Markets Association, she was not only interested but agreed to head it.

After all, in addition to her local duties, she also heads a union of 12 Israeli outdoor markets and therefore brings a lot of experience to the table.

The two had conversations for the past two years. They finally met when Manetti came to Jerusalem in July with market heads from Barcelona, London, Berlin, Kyoto, Mexico City and Tbilisi. He and Friedman also formed an alliance that they hope will be mutually beneficial.

“On the occasion of the 100th birthday of the Machane Yehuda Market, we signed an agreement which strengthens the bond of friendship and mutual interest between the Central Market and the historic Israeli market,” Manetti tells ISRAEL21c through translator Gianluca Foa.

“It is a commitment to develop mutual knowledge of the characteristics and problems common to markets full of history and traditions in contemporary commerce,” he says.

“The common theme is how it is possible to maintain the characteristics that have made our markets famous throughout the world with the change in purchasing habits and the many distribution channels available today for consumers in different countries,” Manetti says.

“Together we will look for the way to maintain a balance between trade in typical food products of the area and a tourism that pushes towards the standardization of consumption.”

Manetti says he and Friedman firmly believe that maintaining the traditional aspects of their markets will ensure their continuity. He expressed his wish that joint projects could even lead to UNESCO recognition for their historic markets.

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