Israel faces Cottage Cheese revolution

By Gavin Rabinowitz (AFP)

JERUSALEM — With revolution sweeping the Middle East, Facebook-inspired protests have come to Israel in an unlikely form, in a carton of cottage cheese.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a tub of the cheese slammed on his desk in parliament on Wednesday by opposition lawmakers who jumped on the bandwagon of a social network call to “boycott cottage,” in the face of a sharp rise in prices.

“The cottage cheese boycott is a protest against injustice, against the social gaps that have flourished under your watch,” opposition leader Tzipi Livni told Netanyahu as the cottage debate raged for more than an hour in the Knesset.

The call to boycott the cheese, a staple of the Israeli diet, began on Facebook earlier this week after manufacturers announced that the price of a 250 gramme tub would rise to eight shekels ($2.35; euro 1.65.)

Israel’s seven million residents consume about 600 million shekels ($176 million; 122 million euros) worth of the cheese annually, according to industry figures.

“Cottage is such a basic staple that has hit eight shekels. Don’t buy it for a month,” was the call issued on Facebook. It quickly spawned several other sites calling for a boycott, which together have tens of thousands of fans.

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