Such is the strength of feeling against the decision by the Manufacturers Association's textiles and fashion division to support a controversial campaign to impose restrictive levies on fashion imports from the Far East, that a splinter group has been set up to oppose it.

Leading the new textile manufacturers forum is Gabi Roter, CEO of fashion firm Castro, who has been joined by other firms including Fox, Golf, Honigman and Crazy Line. The Manufacturers Association's campaign for a protective levy on clothing imports from the Far East would hit Israeli firms that have transferred some production lines to the region.

Roter has also inferred that Ramzi Gabai, head of the Manufacturers Association's textile division and the owner of a firm that dyes and finishes textiles, is looking after his own interests by levying tariffs on clothing not dyes.

He says that protective duties on textile imports from would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs in the Israeli textile industry.