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Israel Wants to Eliminate Foreign Chefs

Remember how we told you about the popularity of sushi in Israel? You may have noticed a brief mention of the government mandate that could "expel all Asian employees at ethnic restaurants in order to make room for Israeli workers" by next January. That subtext is now at the forefront of strikes and protests against the plan, which has already begun to move forward. The Israeli government is only awarding 500 permits to Asian chefs this year, compared with 900 from last year. Next year they won't grant any at all.

In protest, Israel's 300 Asian restaurants refused to serve egg rolls–a very popular treat–yesterday, and they have plans to deny Israelis sushi and noodles in another strike set for two weeks from now.

Asian cuisine in Israel is a 1-billion-shekels-a-year industry, and Israelis want a piece of the hand roll–but at what cost? Though Shoshana Strauss, a lawyer employed by Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, believes that "Everyone can make Chinese food," I think there's something to be said for the authenticity that comes with cultural history and knowledge. Sure, Israelis can learn how to stir fry and make hand rolls, but expelling all Asian chefs from Israeli restaurant kitchens can only result in a dearth of cultural and culinary diversity.

Related: Israelis Like it Raw

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