Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:22 pm (KSA) 16:22 pm (GMT)

'Swine' flu gets Mexican makeover in Israel

The Israeli minster suggested the name change in deference to Jewish and Muslim sensitivities over pork (File)
The Israeli minster suggested the name change in deference to Jewish and Muslim sensitivities over pork (File)

Swine flu? Not in the Jewish state.

"We will call it Mexico flu. We won't call it swine flu," Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, a black-garbed Orthodox Jew, told a news conference Monday, assuring the Israeli public that authorities were prepared to handle any cases.

He suggested the name change in deference to Jewish and Muslim sensitivities over pork. Under the dietary laws or both religions, pigs are considered unclean and pork is forbidden food -- although the non-kosher or haram meat is available in some stores in Israel and Muslim countries.

 We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine 
Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman

"We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine," said Litzman, a member of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party.

Israel confirmed on Tuesday its first case of swine flu, saying tests showed a man who recently returned from Mexico and was hospitalised had contracted the virus, Israel Radio said.

The World Organization for Animal Health said on Monday that the name swine flu is a misnomer as the deadly virus has origins among birds and humans as well as pigs.

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