The Search for Israel’s Best Hummus

In their recent book, whose Hebrew title translates The Big Guide to Hummusiot, three Israelis address one of their country’s most hotly debated questions: where can one find the best hummus? Dana Kessler spoke with Erez Tikolsker, one of the authors:

A hummusiah (hummusiot is the plural form) is a restaurant dedicated to hummus—just as a pizzeria is dedicated to pizza or an espresso bar is dedicated to coffee. It’s a kind of little restaurant where hummus is constantly made fresh, without colorings and preservatives, and consumed for breakfast or lunch. It’s a place where hummus is the main dish and sometimes almost the only dish served. . . . “The food arrives fast but it’s cooked slow,” Tikolsker said, trying to help me define something he never thought needed definition. “It is a place to meet with friends, but it’s not a place where you sit for hours like you would in a bar.”

Hummusiot connect Jews and Arabs, and connect you to Israel in a geographic sense because you travel to get to places with great hummus, and when you do you also visit the place around it,” Tikolsker said.

He explained the regional differences: “Jerusalem hummus is sourer; they put a lot of lemon in their paste. And it is served with lots of olive oil. When ordering hummus in Jerusalem you basically get a bowl of olive oil with hummus in it. The hummus in Jaffa, the Central District, the Sharon plain, and the Triangle [the Israeli Arab towns and villages adjacent to the Green Line, located in the eastern Sharon plain] is less sour, and more neutral in its tastes, and served with less olive oil. And then there is the Galilee hummus, which I have difficulty describing but can easily recognize when tasting it.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: Food, Israeli society


An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy