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November 21, 2013 2:37 pm

Jerusalem Restaurateur Offers Steep Discount for Customers Who Shut Off Their Phones

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Jawdat Ibrahim. Photo: Facebook.

Restaurateur Jawdat Ibrahim has spent decades promoting coexistence among the Jewish and Arab populations of Israel, and now he’s focusing on the relationships of his customers and their food by offering a 50% discount to anybody who shuts off their phone in his restaurant.

“I’m changing something. It might be something small, but maybe in some small way I’ll be changing the culture of eating,” Ibrahim told the Associated Press recently.

Ibrahim is the owner of Abu Ghosh, a well-known restaurant named after its hometown, located about six miles outside of Jerusalem. He said at first he tried to collect cell phones at the front door after witnessing groups of friends or married couples sitting in silence, staring at their screens each day. When he realized this wouldn’t be practical, he decided to introduce the discount.

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“Technology is very good. But just when you eat, just especially when you are with your family and your friends, you can just wait for half an hour and enjoy the food and enjoy the company,” he said. “A lot of people, they sit down and they don’t enjoy their food, their company.”

Ibrahim is in a unique position to offer the steep discount. While living in the U.S. in the 1980s, he won some $23 million in an Illinois state lottery, writes The Associated Press.

The discount may not be such a bad business plan either. “I have a lot of new customers,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim said virtually every customer who has entered the restaurant since he began the promotion this week has taken advantage of the offer.

“People come from Jerusalem. People come from Tel Aviv, and they all have one thing in common: This telephone is not good for me when I am eating,” he said.

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  • Ross Yerkes

    Asking Jews to stop talking on their cell phones. That’s a good one!

  • bonnie loranger

    When I am alone in a restaurant I read a story in my kindle. i do not like cell phone. The story is more interesting than any stupid phone conversation.

  • marc sportich

    yes i think this restaurator has a good idea because me too i have fed up to listening people calling with their smartphones into bus ,metro , suburbs trains etc “they dont have respect “i have fed up to these egoist peoples ” i have fed up of this high tech objects “and sincerely i will go to his restaurant in abou gosh ” what is the exact name of this restaurant “?? did have any bus from jerusalem or tel aviv going to abou gosh ??if someone can inform me the road ??
    me too i wud like create a restaurant when i will get moneys in tiberiad “and phone and smartphone will be bannished with strong discount ” !
    this revolution technologic is not good for humanitys !shabath shalom umeborakh for everybody !

  • Rob A

    nice to see a good news story well done, hope some other places at home take note and introduce it

  • E. Patricia Coppola

    It’s probably a good idea. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. I’m one of the guilty ones that always use my cell at the table. Usually because I’m alone and it gives me something to do. But we should enjoy our meal and try to relax. Even detach from all the technology that fills our lives. Who knows? Maybe Mr.Ibrahim has started something good for all of us!!

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