War and peas: It's all about hummus
Published 08/01/2010 | 15:13
Israel has taken the upper hand in a new kind of Middle East conflict where bullets are replaced by chickpeas.
Cooks in an Arab town near Jerusalem whipped up more than four tons of hummus, the chickpea paste that is a staple - and a near-religious obsession - for many in the region.
They doubled the previous record for the world's biggest serving - set in October in Lebanon - and broke an earlier Israeli record.
Hundreds of jubilant Israelis, a mix of Arabs and Jews, gathered around the satellite dish used to prepare the hummus in the town of Abu Ghosh, many dancing as a singer performed an Arabic love song to the paste.
Guinness World Records confirmed the Israeli chefs now held the record putting the exact amount of hummus in the giant dish at 9,017 lbs (4,090 kilograms).
Lebanon and Israel have officially been at war for six decades. Three months ago, when the Lebanese chefs prepared their record-breaking dish, they called it a move to reaffirm ownership of a Lebanese food they claimed had been appropriated by Israelis.
"Lebanon is trying to win a battle against Israel by registering this new Guinness World Record and telling the whole world that hummus is a Lebanese product, it's part of our traditions," said Fady Jreissati, the Lebanese organiser, at the time.
The driving force behind the Israeli hummus dish, Jawdat Ibrahim - an Israeli Arab restaurateur who became a millionaire after winning a lottery in the US - played down the conflict, saying "competition is a healthy thing".
"Today we have the hummus. Hopefully, we will have the talks for peace in our region," he said.
The hummus war has been simmering for some time. In 2008, a group of Lebanese businessmen announced plans to sue Israel to stop it from marketing hummus and other regional dishes as Israeli.