From the Gulf News (George S. Hishmeh):
My niece, Irene, called me a few days ago indignant that some of her American friends, including some Jews, keep describing typical Arab foods such as falafel, hummus and shawarma, among others, as Israeli…
My first impulse was to tell my niece that Israel was almost 60 year old and these food items have obviously existed long before then.
Actually, these foods predate the arrival of the Arabs in the region as well. Chickpeas (the main ingredient in hummus and falafel) were eaten by the ancient Egyptians. And the roasting of lamb on a spit (shawarma) probably goes back to prehistoric times.
So why are these Arab foods, George? Is there any reason to doubt that the Jews that lived in Land of Israel before the founding of the state — indeed all the way back to Abraham — ate these foods?
They are Middle Eastern foods, and Jews are no less Middle Easterners than Arabs, to the latter’s great and oft-times violent chagrin.