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Since the mid-1950s, Israel has had laws restricting the sale of pork and banning its farm production in deference to biblical proscriptions. But because of legal loopholes, it was possible to raise pigs for science or in areas considered Christian. Pork buyers included secular Jews, Christian Arabs and more recently, immigrant workers and the hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who don’t keep kosher.Now it is up to individual municipalities to determine whether pork can be sold in each neighborhood and whether shops will incur fines for selling it, much as they would for staying open on the Sabbath. Many Jews who ignore other kosher rules will not eat pork for cultural and historical reasons. Observant Muslims also abstain from it.Even more than other nonkosher foods, pork is seen by many Israelis as an affront to Jewish nationalism. Pork sellers routinely face protesters, and in recent years, arsonists have attacked shops in cities like Netanya and Safed, where Orthodox Jews live near secular immigrant communities.Dr. Landau, a 61-year-old retired cardiologist and food writer from Tel Aviv, likes pork and thinks there are many Israelis who shy from it not so much because it’s taboo, but because they don’t know how to prepare it.
I recall that there were those who were trying to breed a cud chewing, cloven hoofed kosher pig.
One of the many things that surprised me about Israel was the enormous amount of restaurants openly advertising pork-based meals. The Russians who came for purely economical reasons, and now form something like a fifth of Israeli society, did not want to change their diet upon arrival.
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