Miami restaurant manager fired for taking away Israeli flags

Israeli-owned restaurant in Miami fires shift manager after patrons say their Israeli flags were seized and police called.

By Susan Tawil, World Israel News

On Sunday night, a lively group of diners waving Israeli flags in a popular Israeli restaurant in Florida had their flags taken away and the police called in.

Eyal Shani, owner and top chef of HaSalon, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant in Miami, says he has fired the manager responsible for the incident.

The diners were singing to the Israeli music in the restaurant and dancing on the tables—which seems to be a permitted activity in the establishment.

They waved their flags and shouted “Am Yisrael Chai!” (The Nation of Israel Lives!), when they were requested by the general manager to stop.

When they refused, their flags were taken, they were evicted from the facility, and the police were called.

Sean Levy, a lawyer who was part of the group of guests, uploaded videos of the incident to Instagram.

He asked on the media platform: “Eyal Shani, are you supporting Israel and the abducted soldiers? Are Israeli flags not allowed here?”

Some of the customers said they were attacked by the staff, with one claiming that he was grabbed by the neck and choked by an employee.

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Israeli Eyal Shani, owner of HaSalon, operates 24 similar high-end restaurants in Israel and around the world, in diverse locations like Tel Aviv, Paris, Singapore, Melbourne, and NYC.

He is an acclaimed chef who is also a celebrity on the culinary scene, starring in the TV series “Food for Thought,” and serving as a judge in the Israeli version of “Master Chef.”

Shani issued a statement on Monday, decrying the incident: “In days when our hearts are torn, to snatch the Israeli flag from a person… is an act of abuse, of trampling on the soul of another…I want to believe that the Miami shift manager had a lapse of judgment for a moment and didn’t understand the sentiment, and he made a mistake that we would never make,” he said.

The manager contended that the restaurant is apolitical, and that the diners in question didn’t respect that. One of the group members said: “Everyone in the restaurant was Israeli or Jewish…If this place is not political, then why serve Israeli food and play Israeli music?” Levy said: “How foolish is it to say that we can’t wave the Israeli flag in an Israeli restaurant?”