Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
From the “Get Your Priorities Right’ file…
When faced with a potential public health crisis it is important, as Deputy Minister of Health, that you ease public angst by coming up with an acceptable name for new diseases.
That’s why we were all relieved to learn that Israel’s Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, an Orthodox Jew, has decided that the outbreak of what is being called ‘swine flu’ elsewhere in the world will henceforth be known as ‘Mexico Flu’ in Israel.
Having taken care of that important bit of business, Litzman assured the nation that authorities were prepared to handle any cases of ‘Mexico Flu’ that might occur in Israel.
Under Jewish and Muslim dietary law, pork is forbidden food – although there are pig farms in both Israel and the West Bank to cater to the non-kosher, non-halal population here.
There’s plenty of personal invective and general mudslinging going on in the final days of the Israeli election campaign. With 30-plus parties in the race and a good dozen of them in with a reasonable chance of parliamentary seats, everyone is fighting everyone else in a political version of a bar-room free-for-all.
While the main contenders slug it out over who is best placed to keep Israelis safe from attacks by Palestinians or a potentially nuclear-armed Iran, some of the most heated sparring is between smaller parties whose radically different constituencies highlight the diversity of Israeli society. Take Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu for example. Between them, they could get about a quarter of the vote on Tuesday and they’re slugging it out in some colourful language.