Hooters is just the sort of establishment that many of Netanya’s religious expatriate Americans were happy to leave behind. But the giant restaurant chain followed them home last week when it opened its first Israeli branch in Ramat Poleg.
Although they say they’d never even seen the new restaurant, prominent members of Netanya’s large contingent of religious Anglos were outraged to learn of the opening. But other native English-speakers seem eager to enjoy this piece of Americana, together with dozens of Israeli youngsters who filled the restaurant to capacity.
“Of all the beautiful things in the States, this is what they bring,” Rachel Morrowitz, who grew up in New York, complained. “This restaurant comes from the bottom of the American cultural barrel, and it should stay there.”
Deputy Mayor Mendi Weiss (National Religious Party) referred to Hooters as a “cheap and crude establishment” and “a foreign element that should never have been imported from the U.S.” Weiss added that “this connects to what Hanukkah is about: a culture war in which the Jews had to struggle to retain their own identity.”