Topper' Of A Success Story
JERUSALEM (JTA) — The ap-
"Most Jerusalemites care
pearance of McDonald's on the about a kashrut certificate," he
Israeli fast-food scene last year said, "but you can't get one for a
left some people here with a bad restaurant that's open on Shab-
taste in their mouths.
bat. As it is, the vast majority of
Inaugurated with a flurry of restaurants in Jerusalem are
media coverage, McDonald's Is- closed on Shabbat anyway, so it
raeli outlets chose to serve non- seems quite natural."
kosher food, and thousands of
Neil Ackerman, a 20-year-old
people responded. Though
the meat that is served is
reportedly kosher, the
cheeseburgers most defi-
nitely are not.
While no one has lost
sleep over the mixing of
meat and dairy at Mc-
Donald's — or at the oth-
er Israeli eateries without
kashrut certificates —
many observant Jews
were a bit peeved when
the fast-food giant opted
to serve non-kosher food
at all its branches, includ-
ing in Jerusalem.
For this reason, the re-
cent opening of the world's
only kosher, sabbath-ob-
servant branch of the This is a good sign for yeshiva student
Burger King chain has Israel's religious
from London, said
drawn cheers from Israel's community.
he was "ecstatic"
when he heard that
The Jerusalem branch
a kosher Burger
— one of five Burger King
King had opened in
outlets in the country — has been Jerusalem.
overrun with customers since it
Sitting with a bunch of British
opened in May.
friends, Mr. Ackerman said, "You
Thanks to its kashrut certifi- have to understand, coming from
cation, and its location in the cap- England, good kosher fast food is
ital's most popular indoor mall, almost non-existent. It makes us
the restaurant has become the appreciate this even more."
place to get a burger and a pareve
On a recent Saturday night,
"It tastes too good
customers stood five-deep in line,
waiting for the teen-agers behind
to be kosher."
the counter to fill their orders.
— Simon Hammelburger
The crowd, a combination of
religious and secular, teen-agers
and families, Israelis and Amer-
icans, sounded just like cus-
"It tastes too good to be
tomers at any of Burger King's kosher," said Simon Hammel-
7,000 non-Israeli branches — ex- burger, 22, biting into a Whop-
cept, perhaps, for their pronun- per.
ciation of the word "Whopper."
Their friend Danny Ormond,
Since the Hebrew language 21, said he is disappointed that
has no "w," in Israel the Burger McDonald's doesn't serve kosher
King signature sandwich is pop- food as well.
ularly known as the "Vopper."
"It doesn't seem right that such
David Burger, the night man- a large restaurant chain would
ager, said while the food in all of come to Israel, only to serve treif
the Burger Kings in Israel is food. They should at least be
kosher, only the Jerusalem one kosher in the branch that's next
is closed on Shabbat.
to B'nei Brak," he said, referring
to the fervently religious neigh-
borhood near Tel Aviv.
Though they didn't seem par-
ticularly concerned whether the
food was kosher or not, members
of the Lazovsky family of
Jerusalem pronounced the meal
It tastes just like Burger King
in America, they said, ex-
cept for the absence of
There was one com-
plaint, however: "Look at
this milkshake," said 18-
year-old Gidi. "It tastes
awful, but what can you
expect? It's pareve."
The real taste test
came from Joe Dawson,
an American basketball
player from Birmingham,
Ala., who plays for Mac-
cabi Jerusalem, the city's
"This is a good ham-
burger," Mr. Dawson said.
"It tastes as good as an
But, he confessed, "I go to Mc-
Donald's when I want a cheese-
Mr. Dawson, who has been in
Israel for three years, said that
"of all the countries I've lived in,
Israel is the most like America.
There's fast food, cable TV, call-
waiting for the phone. Israel is a
great place for an American."
Ron Lapid, manager of the
Burger Ranch fast-food chain, an
Israeli company, believes that
having American fast-food
restaurants on the Israeli scene
has helped his busihess.
Asked if business at his 56
branches — the most of any
restaurant chain in Israel — has
been hurt by the foreign compe-
tition, Mr. Lapid said, "We
haven't experienced any direct
impact, but I can tell you that
business is booming.
"In 1992 we earned $25 mil-
lion; in 1993, $31 million; this
year we expect to make $40 mil-
lion. We also plan to open four
new branches by the end of the
"If anything, I think that the
American chains are making the
hamburger even more popular in
Israel," he said, adding, "That's
good news for us." ❑
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ov ernm ei
rival of a delegation of 27 E gypt
ran businessmen, headed by
eration of Egyptian Indus-
tries president Mohammed
Farid Itharnis, for a three-day
'th e agreement calls for an
exchange of information on
the country' interest in Egypt
three areasLLaccess' ;
to markets:not:open to Israel,
low-cost skilled labor and read
ily available raw materials.
Froin the eiher'Side Israel
could "help Egypt gain access to
countries where we have better
connections," • r sai