Druze restaurant goes kosher to feed Israeli soldiers

The owner of Noor in the village of Julis wanted everyone to be able to eat her donated meals.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The owner of a restaurant in the village of Julis has made her establishment kosher, joining a trend begun weeks ago by eateries eager to also feed soldiers and evacuees who keep the Jewish dietary restrictions, so none are left out.

Noor owner Basma Khir wanted to provide authentic Druze cuisine to everyone affected by the ongoing war with Hamas, and turned through a contact to Deputy Minister of Transportation Uri Maklev of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party for help. His office immediately connected her with the kashruth division of the Chief Rabbinate, which made all the arrangements.

It is not an easy or short procedure, with all machines and cutlery, dishes and utensils needing special cleaning if not replacing, and rethinking the repertoire of recipes if they contain non-kosher ingredients.

All this didn’t faze Khir, who only opened the eatery a year ago.

When Maklev came to see the finished product, she said, “We asked to kasher the place for the benefit of the soldiers. We will happily replace the entire menu so that we can feed our kosher-observant soldiers,” she said, adding “This is a historic move, and it will be credited to you.”

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As the first and only kosher restaurant in the Druze village, Noor may now attract new customers, of course.

As one local resident, Mansoor Khanjar posted online, the restaurant “serves amazing meat dishes with a huge variety of excellent Druze cuisine…. We’ll enjoy the crowd that comes to [Julis] especially for the restaurant” now that it is kosher.

According to the Datilishes website (a play on the word “delicious” with the Hebrew word for someone who is religious, “dati”) Khir is an IDF widow. She had begun supplying thousands of individually wrapped meals for soldiers in the region from the beginning of the war, at no cost, the site said, but wanted to be able to feed the religious troops as well.

She first received a temporary kashruth certificate, it added, and has now made it permanent. One of her first fans was journalist Amit Segal, who publicized her act of solidarity and generosity to his many followers and provided a Paybox link as well. This led to donations pouring in to enable Khir to continue providing her culinary services to thousands of grateful soldiers.

To receive kashruth certification, an establishment usually must be closed on the Sabbath, but Noor is open seven days a week.

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