President Shimon Peres recently returned to Israel from Mexico, where he had been on a state visit.
Mati Tuchfeld of Israel Hayom reported that in the course of the visit, Peres and his entourage entered a restaurant called Au Pied de Cochon, in the hotel where he was staying, and ate a meal.
The name of the restaurant means “The Pig's Foot.” This is also the restaurant's prized dish. The restaurant's sign features two piglets staring at each other, and the menu is decorated with images of pigs, which observant Jews are strictly forbidden from eating.
Peres, who speaks French, certainly understood the meaning of the name.
According to the report, several members of the Jewish congregation in Mexico, which sponsored much of the presidential visit, felt great discomfort upon learning that Peres chse to dine at this particular restaurant with his entourage, but did not have the courage to say anything to the president.
Peres's bureau said in reaction to the report: “This is a restaurant that is located in the hotel where the president was staying. The meal was a private lunch, to which no additional guests were invited. The president and his bureau staff made sure to abide by the laws of kashrut and ordered only fish and salad. In all of the formal meals he attended, the food was kosher lemehadrin.”
Peres is not an observant Jew but official representatives of Israel usually refrain from dining in blatantly unkosher venues, especially abroad, and attempt to respect tradition.