McDonald’s Israel sparks international outrage for giving free food to IDF soldiers

McDonald’s Israel said it has donated over 100,000 free meals, worth NIS 5 million (over $1.2 million), to the IDF.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner 

McDonald’s Israel has angered other branches of the fast food giant around the world, and some of its customers, for providing food to soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as they fight a war against Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that invaded the Jewish state earlier this month and killed over 1,400 Israelis.

Since the outbreak of war on Oct. 7 — when Hamas perpetrated the biggest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust — McDonald’s Israel said it has donated over 100,000 free meals, worth NIS 5 million (over $1.2 million), to the IDF, Israeli security forces, residents of Israel impacted by the war and local hospitals. Five branches were open exclusively to make food for that purpose.

In addition, McDonald’s Israel is giving a 50 percent discount to all Israeli security and rescue forces in uniform who place orders at their locations across Israel.

In response, branches of McDonald’s in Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt were vandalized, according to photos and videos circulating on social media, and rallies in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza were held outside other McDonald’s restaurants in Malaysia and elsewhere.

Some franchises around the world have came out with statements distancing themselves from McDonald’s Israel, vowing to donate to help humanitarian aid efforts in the Gaza Strip, including branches in Egypt, Malaysia, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Kuwait.

“No unilateral decision made by any individual McDonald’s franchise can be seen as unified global action, or set company policy or even as a declared political stance by McDonald’s globally. What the McDonald’s operator did in Israel was an example of such individual action,” said McDonald’s Kuwait. “It was not a global decision, nor was it approved by any of the other local operators.”

Even the McDonald’s franchise in the United Arab Emirates — which opened diplomatic relations with Israel after signing the Abraham Accords in 2020 — has attempted to disassociate itself with Israel, instead pledging AED 1 million (about $272,000) to the Emirates Red Crescent that will go towards helping the Gaza Strip. Israel also signed a free trade agreement with the UAE, its first with an Arab state, in May 2022.

McDonald’s Israel clarified in a statement that claims about it donating to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are all false. The franchise has threatened legal action against those who continue to circulate the misinformation and has sent out numerous cease-and-desist letters to those spreading the fake news.

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