Spring rolls are off the menu as Asian chefs go on strike in Israel, according to the wire services. The problem with these chinese foodworker strikes is that two weeks later, you have to go on strike again. What to do for sushi and noodle addicts? The problem goes beyond ginger pork or kosher cuisine - it's cutting back on foreign workers.
Israel's Asian restaurants went on a one-day spring-roll strike yesterday in protest over government plans to rid kitchens of foreign chefs, and said sushi and noodles would be the next items off the menu.
Proprietors are angry at government plans to purge Japanese, Chinese and Thai eateries of Asian cooks and replace them with Israelis as part of a broader programme to cut the number of foreigners working in the Jewish state.
The Israeli Ethnic Restaurant Organisation said the country's 300 Asian restaurants refused to serve spring- or egg- rolls – among their most popular dishes – and planned a follow-up strike in two weeks for sushi and noodles.
"Today there is no egg roll and in two weeks' time there will be no sushi and noodles," said Arnon Volosky, head of the organisation.
Israel attracts virtually no immigrants from Asia since anyone seeking citizenship here must prove they have Jewish family or links to the country.
Seeking to plug a gap in the labour market during the first Palestinian uprising, Israel allowed in foreigners to work. But now it is trying to limit those numbers to create more jobs for Israelis.
This year, the government is granting 500 permits to Asian chefs compared with 900 last year. Next year, no permits will be issued, although restaurants willing to pay twice the average national salary will be allowed to employ chefs as "experts".
The government says Israelis can be trained. "Everyone can make Chinese food; it's not impossible to learn," said Shoshana Strauss, a lawyer on foreign worker issues for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour.
Asian restaurants started dishing up chicken chow mein and Thai green curry to Israelis about 30 years ago and have evolved into a £140m industry.