Israel's dessert in shoe for Abe draws lashing

Arturo Kim
May 10, 2018

Unthinkable for Japan PM Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie, the creative chef Segev Moshe, riding high on his latest triumph when he served US President Donald Trump and his host a desert in the shape of a double-headed Trump and Netanyahu, presumed that it was amusing but leaving the diplomatic circles in a shock.

Other photos posted to his Instagram page in March raise questions about his understanding of cultural appropriation, with him and his wife shown partying in a Native American-style costumes, with him in a feathered headdress. Outrage and condemnation followed.

A Japanese diplomat was quoted by the Jerusalem Post pointing out that footwear was not in line of any cultures' dining norms. One person described the faux pax as so unbearable that the chef has become "an enemy of people".

The publicist claimed Mr Abe was not offended and was so impressed with the food he even invited Mr Moshe to cook in Japan. He discussed the Iran nuclear deal, Israel-Palestinian talks and the Iran nuclear deal with Mr. Netanyahu. The visit comes at a time of increased economic ties between the two countries. In Japan shoes are not worn in the home nor in most restaurants and workplaces. The gesture did not go down well with Japanese diplomats and media who were "offended" by the gesture extended to their Prime Minister. "If it was humor, we don't think it is amusing; we were offended on behalf of our prime minister", a Japanese diplomat, who was not named, told Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot. Not only do they not enter their homes with shoes on, you won't find shoes in offices, either. "It is like giving a Jewish guest chocolate inside a vessel in the shape of a pig".

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A Japanese diplomat expressed his dismay to Israeli news outlet Yedioth Ahronoth. "He's very artistic", the ministry mentioned in a press release. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe landed in Israel on May 1 for a formal visit and was welcomed by Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at their residence in Jerusalem.

A source close to the chef stressed that the dessert was not served in a real shoe but rather in leather-looking metal sculptures forged by industrial designer Tom Dixon.

With the caption of "Prime Minister of Israel and his wife, host the Prime Minister of Japan".

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