Jewish-Muslim food war plays out on Manhattan streets
New York City’s street curbs are playing host to another style of Mideast conflict
New York City’s street curbs are playing host to another style of Mideast conflict, between a halal food cart and a Kosher rival.
Running with the headline “Intifooda,” the New York Post this week reported that Jewish kosher-food purveyor Yisroel Mordowitz said he is being forced to move his food cart due to a “halal mafia.”
Egyptian competitors have, according to the newspaper, blocked him from taking a spot in the coveted Rockefeller Center area, squatting or placing products and umbrellas on the sidewalk.
“This guy is hungry — hungry for money,” said one Halal food vendor, Mohamed Mossad , according to the newspaper. “I have a family, too!” he added.
“He’s just coming to this particular spot, and he wants to grab it from me — and kill me, actually. Kill my business.”
Mordowitz’s cart “Holy Rollers” prepares food in accordance with kosher guidelines, while the Egyptian vendors prepare their food in accordance with Islamic law. Pork is prohibited in both diets, but there are different ways of preparing the meat.
According to the kosher vender, one of the halal food purveyors shouted: “This is not Palestine!”
Mordowitz told the newspaper: “They’re trying to say that the Jews in Israel are pushing people out, so don’t do it here.”
For his part, Mossad said: “He said I am a terrorist. He says I bombed the Twin Towers. That’s racist… To me, it’s not about him being a Jew.”
According to the newspaper, the city grants licenses but does not specify where vendors must locate unless the food carts are too close to a subway entrance or are a safety hazard.