Right on cue for the inauguration, Israelis are starting to warm to the new leader of the free world. I spotted this harbinger of Pizza in the Middle East by the brash Jerusalem blogger, Israelity bites.
They deliver. And hope the new American President will, too.
On Hebron Road, quite close to the old Green Line in Jerusalem, Pizza Obama, a strictly kosher parlour, has been in business for the past two months. The owners keep it open til 1 am, and promise they'll be prepared to take your call in the middle of the night. Now Pizza Obama is gearing up for a brisk trade on Tuesday as lots of Israeli-Americans order in while they watch the swearing-in.
The proprietor shrugged when I inquired why there were no pizza joints named for President Peres or President Abbas. Or Dubya for that matter. Famously, Israelis were rather cool to the winning Democratic candidate, with the vast majority of those preferring Hillary Clinton, or a former military man like McCain in the White House.
"Ehhhh," he said, "It's a change we need."
Maybe Pizza Obama is the ideal place to try a Hawaiian Pizza (the usually horrendous pineapple-topped kind) as a nod to BHO's home state. It might be the best one on the menu, since Israeli pizza pies often come heaped with a mix of odd ingredients, from canned corn to tuna and Jerusalem artichokes, with crusts akin to a soggy bagel. Kosher, maybe, but not necessarily appetizing if you're fond of pepperoni and thin crust. The oregano is kept separate, because it's deemed an acquired taste and most locals prefer coriander. A side of hummous, anyone?
I was dumbfounded to learn how many thousands of pizzas are ordered up to feed hungry soldiers by patriotic Moms and Dads and diaspora relatives using Pizza IDF. These come piping hot from all over Israel, often from chains such as Pizza Hut, and not only from little independent parlours like Pizza Obama. All these deliveries are coordinated with security forces, too, and slices are doled out to armed forces and reservists on the Israeli side of the border. Given that so little food is let into the Gaza Strip, and the humanitarian crisis is spiralling there, it seems to be in bad taste.
Would President Obama approve?
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