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Foodie Lebovitz puts Jaffa in Tel Aviv in ‘Arabic food’ gorge sponsored by ‘Vibe Israel’

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A long time ago — 11 days in fact — we jumped all over hipster foodie and Chez Panisse veteran David Lebovitz for calling hummus an Israeli food. Lebovitz is leagues and leagues ahead of us. He’s now in Israel on a food junket. From his latest article

Note: I’m a guest on a trip with Vibe Israel, a non-profit organization dedicated to introducing Israeli culture and cuisine to others. This meal was part of that visit…

The restaurant is a Palestinian restaurant called Haj Kahil in Jaffa. Lebovitz puts the restaurant in Tel Aviv. And he never uses the word Palestinian.

“Arabic food is one of my favorite things to eat.”

More on the food of Israel from David Lebovitz:

Over one hundred cultures live in the small country of Israel, and thirty-three languages are spoken. Because people live so close together, the food traditions cross fluidly from one culture to the next here…

I’m with a small group traveling in Israel, learning about the foods and the cultures of this country that is roughly the size of New Jersey. Only sixty or so years-old, Israel is young. But it’s vibrant and brash; people will tell you what they think and expect the same out of you. (Kind of like blogging!) The uncertainty one might have about this country is tempered at the rickety linoleum tables in the back of markets where hand-pulled filo is quickly baked and drizzled with honey for you and at the juice stands which dot the streets near the beaches, pouring fresh, cold juices. But if you do want a taste of controversy, just mention the word “hummus” and you will be told by anyone within earshot where the best place is, and why it’s better than any of the other places you were at.

Controversy, yes. You went to the right place. I infer that Vibe Israel paid for Lebovitz’s trip. Here’s Vibe Israel’s About page. Emphasis mine:

Vibe Israel is an all-expenses-paid personalized experience of Israel for global on and off-line opinion leaders and makers.

Vibe Israel is sponsored by Kinetis, an Israeli promotion group. It never ends. But that makes our work, in the States, all the more challenging.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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6 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka on June 29, 2012, 12:32 pm

    “But it’s vibrant and brash; people will tell you what they think and expect the same out of you. ”

    Kinda makes me wonder why many of the israelis we get around here get so bent out of shape when we tell them their country is a barbaric aparthied state…

  2. seafoid on June 29, 2012, 12:45 pm

    “people will tell you what they think and expect the same out of you.”

    The first bit is true but the second is bollocks.
    People will expect you to agree with them and if you don’t will label you an antisemite.

    will Leibowitz make it to West Jerusalem to put up a few ad posters of women and see how edgy and brash Israel really is?

  3. seafoid on June 29, 2012, 12:51 pm

    “This country that is roughly the size of New Jersey”

    but different to New Jersey in that half of the population lives on less money than the poorest people in Stockton and they aren’t allowed to vote

  4. annie on June 29, 2012, 1:14 pm

    from the link to Palestinian restaurant Haj Kahil in Jaffa

    The Haj Kahil family has lived in Jaffa for over 120 years.

    i guess that makes it israeli food!

  5. Pedestrian on June 29, 2012, 1:40 pm

    This is why I love you guys! I read Lebovitz’s blog post this morning and thought: “huh? Why “Arab” and not “Palestinian”? “Who is behind Vibe Israel?” etc etc … and sure enough, you’d covered it.

  6. adele on June 29, 2012, 1:55 pm

    I just posted a comment on David Lebovitz’ bog and gave him an earful. I’m sure he won’t allow my comment to to be posted but I don’t care, as long as he gets the message! He really needs to be educated, I recommend everyone write to him to let him know about the real food history of Palestine!

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