The German Zionist Who Founded Israeli Cuisine

In the mid-1930s, Erna Meyer, a Jewish physician recently arrived in the land of Israel from Nazi Germany, authored How to Cook in Palestine, the first such work to be published in the British Mandate. The book, written in Hebrew, English, and German, was geared to housewives raised in Europe who were unfamiliar with the local produce and climate and struggling to adjust to the harsh material conditions. Dana Kessler writes:

“We housewives must make an attempt to free our kitchens from European customs which are not applicable to Palestine. We should wholeheartedly stand in favor of healthy Palestine cooking,” writes Meyer, urging new Jewish immigrants to Palestine to shed their European identity and reinvent themselves according to the Zionist ideology. “We should foster these ideas not merely because we are compelled to do so, but because we realize that this will help us more than anything else in becoming acclimatized to our old-new homeland.” . . .

Meyer gives special attention in her book to local vegetables such as marrow (similar to zucchini), okra, and eggplant, giving us a glimpse into the roots of Israeli cuisine. Instead of liver, Meyer offers . . . a chopped eggplant dish, which tastes a lot like traditional Ashkenazi chopped liver. Eggplant “liver” was a big hit in the days of austerity, in which meat was scarce, and it can still be found in delis and supermarkets in Israel to this day.

Read more at Tablet

More about: British Mandate, Food, History & Ideas, Israeli agriculture, Israeli culture


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy