Israel’s Asian restaurants went on a one-day spring roll strike Tuesday in protest over government plans to rid kitchens of foreign chefs, and said sushi and noodles would be the next items off the menu.

The restaurants are angry at government plans to purge Japanese, Chinese and Thai eateries of Asian cooks and replace them with Israelis as part of a broader program to cut the number of foreigners working in the Jewish state.

The Israeli Ethnic Restaurant Organization said the country’s 300 Asian restaurants refused to serve spring, or egg, rolls — among their most popular dishes — Tuesday, and planned a follow-up strike in two weeks for sushi and noodles.

“Today there is no egg roll and in two weeks time there will be no sushi and noodles,” Arnon Volosky, head of the organization, told Reuters.

Israel attracts virtually no immigrants from Asia since anyone seeking citizenship here must prove they have Jewish family or links to the country.

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  • If the Palestinians had figured out they could stop the Chinese food, they would have destroyed Israel years ago. A Jewish state without good Chinese food might as well just be another Middle Eastern dictatorship with a low per-capita income, low literacy and sharia law as the law of the land. I mean, what’s the point?

  • When France raised the bread prices, there was a revolution, and the Marie Antoinette lost her head. When America raised prices, there was a Whiskey Rebellion and people died. And .. umm.. wasnt the Boxer Rebellion due to increased prices on cardboard boxes? So I shudder to think what will happen in Israel if the price of sushi and mu shu shnitzel increases on the coastal plain. I hope the Labour and Interior ministries rethink their policies. Have you ever eaten Chinese/Asian food made by an Israeli or non-Asian American?

    In the words of Mr. Welch to Senator McCarthy, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency.”

    I hope some Israelis ask the Ministry the same question.

    I mean… if it wasn’t for Asians working in Asian cuisine restaurants, how could the Israeli film, NOODLE, have been made?

  • All joking aside – these are some of the most exploited workers in Israel. Most of these restaurants are open 7 days a week. Does anyone really think the cooks are all legal – and get treated fairly? The restaurant industry is tough and exploitative everywhere.

  • Tom, indeed, which makes the whole scheme quite paradox. I’m also not too sure about the moral implications of having guest workers come into your country to push your economy and then kick them out at such short notice, considering the years they may have already been living and working there. Oh, and there’s a reason why a joke line states that the one gift an Ashkenazi chef will never make use of is a spice rack. Even if the dishes served at Asian restaurants are adjusted to our Western palates, even if we try to eat things with chopsticks even Chinese natives wouldn’t, and even if we firmly believe that fortune cookies are not an invention of the Western world, this ruling leaves lots to be desired.

  • All joking aside – these are some of the most exploited workers in Israel.

    And these are hard-working, law-abiding legal residents who strengthen the country and are raising Hebrew-speaking sabra children. What on earth is gained by kicking them out, besides creating ill-will wherever they return to?

  • Three great Israeli films and one additional one on exploited workers (not including Sallah)…


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