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      Taking Bite Out of Cabinet Menu Easy As Pie for Secretary

      A drastic menu change caused big cheeses in Israel's cabinet to feel upcoming meetings might not be a piece of cake.
      By Malkah Fleisher
      First Publish: 1/11/2010, 11:04 PM

      courtesy of Jina Lee

      Loud rumblings were heard from Israeli cabinet ministers on Sunday – from their stomachs, that is – as a drastic and unexpected menu change caused Israel's big cheeses to feel upcoming meetings would not be a piece of cake.

      Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser decided to end the routine of providing oily, carbohydrate and calorie-laden foods such as bourekas, cakes, pastries and sandwiches at the weekly meetings, surprising ministers with a spread of fresh fruits and sliced vegetables, whole grain breads, low fat cheese, granola, and yogurt.  Used to washing their delectables down with sugary fruit drinks, ministers Sunday stayed hydrated with fresh water. 

      Hauser, who was inspired by President's Residence Deputy Director-General Yona Bar Tal, said he was motivated by a desire to keep ministers "standing on their feet" in a government which he says will serve a full four year term, a feat not often achieved in the recent past.

      Bourekas coalition
      Responses to the health-related hubbub ranged from sour to sweet. According to reports, 3 ministers formed a coalition to reinstate bourekas, threatening a crisis, according to Israel newspaper Yediot Acharonot. Others made pleas to bring back fattening foods which would "help them concentrate" during long cabinet meetings.

      Only one minister raved about the peachiness of the new provisions.  Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon (Labor) heaped praises on Hauser, saying "Finally we have a cabinet secretary who recognizes the true value of Israeli agriculture and the land of milk and honey."

      Despite the uproar, all the healthy food was consumed by the end of the meeting.

      Next, the Cabinet Secretary will attempt to soup up the Cabinet's grammar and spelling, forking over a special refresher course for ministers and senior officials.  According to Deputy Premier Silvan Shalom, Israeli politicians have egg on their face when it comes to linguistic errors.  He presented a mistake-riddled letter from the director general of a governmental department as an example of the need for officials to brush up.