Indians were infuriated after Israeli brewery Malka Beer placed the face of legendary figure Mahatma Gandhi on its beer bottles. Issuing a statement in the controversy, Malka Beer said that it was unaware of Mahatma Gandhi's stand against alcohol. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was one of the forerunners who advocated for alcohol prohibition in the country.
In a statement, the company's brand manager Gilad Dror extended his apologies.
“Malka Beer offers its heartfelt apologies to the people and the Government of India for hurting their sentiments. We highly respect and value Mahatma Gandhi and regret our action of putting his image on our bottles,” the statement read.
Dror said that the company had stopped production of the beer bottle and was also trying to withdraw its product from the market.
The beer company also placed Mahatma Gandhi's picture on the bottles among other famous Israeli leaders. The controversy sparked a diplomatic tiff between New Delhi and Jerusalem. As per reports, the beer was produced earlier this year by the boutique brewery in northern Israel.
Enraged Indian immigrants in Tel Aviv knocked the doors of the Indian embassy and reported the matter. Responding to the backlash, officials at Malka said that the decision to place pictures on their product was solely based on honoring the world leaders. However, they were embarrassed to know that Gandhi never favored alcohol sales in India. Also, the beer bottles were produced in a special line dedicated to Israel's Independence Day celebrations. The company further added that most of the bottles had already been out of the shelves.
Notably, members of Rajya Sabha also raised the issue on Tuesday and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu urged External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to take immediate action in the matter.
The head of the Mahatma Gandhi National Foundation in India Eby Jose also wrote a letter to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Jose requested the Israeli PM to take immediate steps to remove Mahatma Gandhi’s images from the bottles and called for action in the matter.