The Two Keys Olive Oil Soap (al-Mufftahein; المفتاحين)
By Saban Al-Toukan
This is our way of supporting a state pressured by an ongoing conflict. In a time when we see this conflict mirrored in Europe with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. To know the past empowers us to change the future. We will leave it at that for now, we will let you shape your own opinion.
There are many reasons we choose to stock this product, but the thing is, skateboarding makes you filthy. Soap and having a political agenda, makes you divine.
Aside from water there are just three ingredients in Nabulsi soap, acclaimed globally since the tenth century for its quality and purity. In its West Bank city of origin, north of Jerusalem, 40 manufacturers have now dwindled to three – and one of them is forging ahead with methods unchanged for a millennium.
The Two Keys Soap has very few ingredients: water, olive oil and a sodium compound made of ash and lime. The creamy-grey, odourless blocks are an entirely natural product so won’t irritate even sensitive skin, it's frankly great.
The ashes of barilla, a plant that grows on the salty banks of the River Jordan, are pounded into a powder. This is then mixed with locally sourced lime, and covered with hot water drawn from copper vats. The resulting concentrated alkaline solution is then returned to the vats, with the addition of olive oil produced in the region. This process is repeated perhaps 40 times over the course of a week while the oil absorbs the compounds, all the while being stirred continuously.
Their original factory, as well as their family company, is more than 800 years old and a famous institution of Palestine, located in the center of the old city of Nablus. The Two Keys' main market is in central Palestine in the areas around Nablus.
Things are not easy: military checkpoints around the city have made getting the ingredients in, and the finished soap out, harder than ever. ‘Before 2000, our factory used to produce 600 tons of soap annually,’ says the general manager at the Toukan factory. ‘Now we produce barely half that amount.’
You may start with this video -
The Israel-Palestine conflict: a 10-minute history or follow this link to a page full of resources.
Reources - Israel & Palestine: A conflict guide explainer
10-minute History - The Israel-Palestine conflict: A 10-minute history
Reportage about the West Bank Settlements - Settlements Part II
Width - 3" (75mm)
Length - 3" (75mm)
Thickness - 2" (25mm)
Weight - 140g (approximately)
Size and weight varies slightly due to the handmade process.