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Israelis warned to cut down on traditional Hanukkah treat

CCTV.com

12-23-2016 00:43 BJT

This year, the start of the Jewish festival of Hanukah coincides with Christmas Eve. But while those celebrating Christmas will be tucking into mince pies, Christmas pudding and chocolate yule logs, Israelis have been warned to lay off their favorite Hanukkah Treat - the sufgaria doughnut.

For most Israelis, eating the traditional sufgania doughnut is as essential to celebrating Hanukkah as lighting the traditional candle stand and spinning the dreidel, a traditional type of dice.

Along with the latke  - a fried potato pancake - it is the delicacy most associated with the eight-day holiday that commemorates ancient miracles and a triumph over oppression.

But, recently Yaakov Litzman, head of a powerful ultra-Orthodox political party, has come out against over-indulging during the holiday.

Litzman, a health conscious Health Minister, is on a crusade to stamp out junk food and child obesity.

For most Israelis, eating the traditional sufgania doughnut is as essential to celebrating Hanukkah as lighting the traditional candle stand and spinning the dreidel, a traditional type of dice.

For most Israelis, eating the traditional sufgania doughnut is as essential to celebrating Hanukkah as lighting the traditional candle stand and spinning the dreidel, a traditional type of dice.

Now many Israelis are finding the new edict hard to swallow.

The two have come into conflict with his high-profile call to avoid the lure of the high-calorie doughnut.

"We have people that like the chocolate doughnuts, the chocolate is the most we sell, and the (health) minister. Yes he said that it's not healthy but it's very tasty, so never mind." 

"Maybe they are fat but they are good. That's the reason why they're good. My family came from a long, long tradition of baking and my father always says what his grandfather told him before: 'If you want something good, it has to be fat."

Dana Weiner is the director of the Diet and Nutrition Unit at the Sheba Medical Centre. She says the minister's advice is sound.

"Regarding the statement by the health minister, Rabbi Litzman, I think it is a very, very important statement because the message is that we can eat less, and I think that he used the doughnut as something symbolic. He did not mean a doughnut only, but throughout our lifestyle, consuming large amounts. So it's correct, I agree, you can eat a doughnut, but not on every day of the holiday, you can also eat half a doughnut, can share it, or there are (also) baked doughnuts," Dana said.

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which tried to force its culture on Jews and desecrated the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

The holiday lasts eight days because - according to tradition - when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, one vial of oil, enough for one day, burned for eight - hence the tradition of eating oily foods.

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