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488. Reviving Coop Awareness, One University at a Time

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Coop Name: Coop Israel N° of Employees: 1300
City: Jerusalem N° of Members: 15000
Country: Israel Year of formation: 1939
Website: http://www.israel.coop
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About this coop:

COOP Israel is the leading consumer cooperative in Israel, operating the third largest food chain in the country. The cooperative was founded in Jerusalem in 1939. In 1942, COOP began operating neighborhood grocery stores, forming the historic basis of the chain. It has since expanded its activities over the years, absorbing various smaller brands and consolidating its position as a leading retail group nationwide. COOP Israel has 15,000 active members and 1,300 employees all over the country. As of today, COOP Israel operates over 210 points of sale through 3 cross-country sub-chains:

  • COOP Shop– A Chain of 42 neighborhood grocery stores.
  • COOP Shop in the Village– Over 160 groceries and stores in rural areas (constantly expanding).
  • COOP Shop Extra– 7 discount grocery stores located at the outskirts of the cities.
COOP Israel is constantly growing, opening new stores, operating an advanced logistics center, regional distribution centers and a fleet of trucks for self-distribution. New members are joining the cooperative society as the chain endeavors to lower costs in residential neighborhoods and the Periphery, while maintaining a qualitative shopping experience. Coop Israel is an active member of the ICA and recent addition to Cooperatives Europe. Our CEO, Mr. Ofer Feinstein, sits on the EuroCoop Board of Directors. Coop Israel is, now more than ever, fully committed to participating in the Global Movement, and constantly exploring areas for collaboration with other Cooperatives. We are always keen to exchange information, particularly on Cooperative Governance, Best Practices, legislative frameworks, IT and Retail. We are convinced that within the cooperative movement, there is great potential for business cooperation, in areas such as parallel import, joint purchase of equipment and IT innovation. Our IT Department is at the cutting-edge of Business Management Software development, and we are on the lookout for potential partners for our customizable Cloud ERP Software service.

In Israel, where the Cooperative Movement has deep roots and was the main driving force in building a modern Economy, even before the creation of the State, one Consumer Coop has decided to put coop awareness back on the agenda.

For the first time in 15 years, Coop Israel and Tel Aviv University, one of the most prestigious Academic Institutions in the country, have created a University Course on Cooperative Identity in the Modern Economy. The Program is run by the Buchman Faculty of Law and allows LLM students to discover the legal and economic significance of the Cooperative alternative.

In line with the vision set forth by the Cooperative Movement, and facilitated by Coop Israel, this Program combines Academic content, Research and practical workshops with leading cooperatives active on the Market.

Since the 1930s, consumer coops, along with the Kibbutz movement and others, catered to the basic needs of an entire population, and laid the foundations for the Start-Up Nation’s Industry, Agriculture, indeed the entire fabric of economic life.

But as in other countries, the Israeli Cooperatives went through a crisis during the 80s. Many Coops have since morphed or disappeared altogether in favor of POCs. And so, despite a rich cooperative History in Israel, and the predominant role some of them still play in the Economy today, most people are unaware of the nature and significance of the cooperative option.

This is the first in what Coop Israel hopes to be a long line of Academic initiatives. It is already in advanced talks with the prestigious Faculty of Law at Bar Ilan University, toward creating a Cooperative Track for Academic Excellence. This initiative includes a Research Program, which may lead to a new generation of Coop Experts within the Faculty itself.

The ultimate goal is to foster Cooperative awareness from the ground up, but also to facilitate academic research that can drive much-needed legal and economic Reform, to the benefit of the Cooperative Movement in Israel.

At a time when Israel’s Youth is demanding greater social equaity, these initiatives aim to educate the leaders of tomorrow, and remind them that there exists a viable business model out there, one that puts people first, and creates ethical, sustainable wealth for society.

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Coop Israel
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