In PR Offensive, Settlers Arm Themselves With Chopsticks

The food business is a departure for Esh Kodesh, a small unauthorized outpost whose residents are better known for their frequent attacks on local Palestinians.

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Jewish settlers in the West Bank outpost of Esh Kodesh are trying to repair their image. Hot on the heels of a widely publicized foray into a neighboring Palestinian village by a group of settlers last week, comes the news that they've launched a new business venture – making and selling sushi.

The culinary enterprise was set up by newly observant Maayan Saar, according to Yediot Aharonot newspaper. "It began last Hanukkah," Saar said. "We had a community potluck and everyone had to bring something." Saar brought sushi.

Saar's sushi was such a hit that she decided to teach her fellow settlers how to roll sushi. Then, when Inbal Zeev, a fellow settler, opened a hilltop bed and breakfast in Esh Kadosh, she included sushi on the menu.

Soon people from neighboring settlements like Kida, Ahiya, Adi-Ad and Shvut Rahel started calling in and ordering sushi. The settlers at Esh Kadosh realized they were on to something and that was how Esh Kadosh Sushi was born.

The sushi and B&B are part of an attempt by the women of Esh Kadosh to rebrand the notorious outpost. "The B&B is called Cottage in the Vineyard," Zeev explains. "We built it so people from all over will come and see how beautiful Judea and Samaria are."

They hit the headlines last week when a group of about 10 of them raided the village of Qusra, only to be surrounded and beaten by a large number of villagers. The group was eventually rescued by the Israel Defense Forces.  

Palestinian from Qusra, a village neighboring Esh Kodesh, say they have suffered "continuous assaults" by the settlers, who have shot at them, burnt crops and uprooted their olive trees.

Sushi at Sakura.Credit: Email Salman
The outpost of Esh Kodesh.Credit: Emil Salman