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Israeli Politicians Would Like Their Pastries Back

Israel’s top politicians are up in arms after the catering for cabinet meetings was switched for healthy cuisine. Starting this week, pastries and cakes were removed from the menu at daily conferences:

Government ministers were shocked last Sunday to discover that their usual cabinet meeting breakfast of burekas puff pastries, rugelach and croissants was replaced with granola, vegetables and yogurts. Juices were also replaced for water.

The person responsible for the new diet, which caused an uproar among the ministers, is Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, who said he got the idea from Yona Bar-Tal, the President’s Residence’s deputy director-general.

"I reached the conclusion that the ministers should have a healthy menu with as little dough and fat as possible. Currently they are accustomed to get burekas puff pastries, sandwiches and cakes.

"We did away with juices and replaced them with water. We completely removed the burekas, rugelach and cakes. We put in yogurts with granola, fruits, vegetables, whole wheat bread, low-fat cheeses and other healthy foods," he said.

(Note: The East Coasters among us know what rugelach is – sugar filled deliciousness. Burekas are Ottoman-descended puff pastries stuffed with cheese or savories that came to the country via Turkish Jews. For obvious reasons, Israelis are not generally big fans of bacon and ham at breakfast.)

All this would just be a funny quirky story if not for the fact that most of Israel’s Hebrew-language dailies ran a paper on the story today. That’s because several cabinet members essentially used the change of menus as an excuse to troll for votes:

Several ministers welcomed the change for obvious health considerations. Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon noted, "Finally we have a cabinet secretary who recognizes the true value of Israeli agriculture and the land of milk and honey."

The eating habits of politicians are fair scrutiny for the Israeli media. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke in 2006 that left him in a semi-vegetative state. His legendary love of unhealthy food is believed to have been a contributing factor.


This post originally appeared on True/Slant and is reprinted with permission.

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