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Horizontally Challenged

At the moment, the mainstream media – in Israel and overseas – seem to be infatuated with the topic of Ariel Sharon’s eating habits. And they are attacking Sharon with all the ferocity of…well, Sharon attacking a shwarma.

Newspapers and radio talk shows focused on Sharon’s eating habits – which apparently consist of a lot of fatty meats and junk food – and even hired pollsters to find out what Israelis think of Sharon’s weight problem. One nutritionist said that Sharon, famous for his “disengagement” plan that pulled Israel out of Gaza, will now have to disengage from junk food.

 

“The heyday of gluttony is over. Sharon is starting a diet,” read a headline in the Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper. But Sharon’s aides denied the prime minister had committed to cutting back, saying old habits were hard to break.

 

According to Yediot, Sharon regularly ordered shwarma – greasy turkey or lamb in pita bread – and felafel – deep fried chickpea balls – to his office. Sharon’s armoured convoy also regularly stops at a popular Jerusalem humous restaurant to grab takeaway food for Sharon and his aides, Yediot reported.

 

Sharon often jokes about his weight, even jesting that the Shin Bet had yet to find an armoured vest large enough to cover his belly. Eli Yatzpan, a popular Israeli comedian, often mimics the prime minister by significantly padding his shirt, biting off entire loaves of bread and drinking orange juice out of huge jugs. Last weekend, an actor on the comedy show Wonderful Country depicted an enormous Sharon eating whipped cream off the bald head of Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz.

 

‚ÄúIt could really be that the prime minister doesn‚Äôt know how much he weighs … because fat people don‚Äôt like to know how much they weigh,‚Äù said Maariv editor Amnon Dankner, which has also invested great, but so far unsuccessful, efforts into uncovering the coveted information.

 

“If fat people don’t like to know how much they weigh, they certainly don’t want to read about it in the newspaper. You want Arik to find out how much he weighs by reading about it in Maariv?” Dankner said, calling Sharon by his nickname.

 

Having failed to uncover Sharon’s weight, Maariv instead hired a polling service and found that 80 of the 498 surveyed wanted Sharon to lose weight, many of them saying because he was a role model.

The above report itself refers to Sharon as the “tubby leader.”

 

In this article, Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz reports on advise to Sharon given by former New York mayor Ed Koch, who also is as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Over dinner one evening at Sharon’s Negev farm, Koch recalls telling Sharon with inimitable frankness, “I love you, and I worry you’re going to die. You’re fat and you eat too much.” Sharon, he said, retorted: “I hardly eat.” But, Koch went on, “when he came to visit me [as New York mayor] at Gracie Mansion, he ate off my plate! I’ve never seen anything like it. Somebody better take control.”

—-

“I was a fat little boy,” he said, “but I was never as fat as Sharon.”

Now don’t get me wrong. Ariel Sharon is fat. I am just surprised that everyone is so direct in telling him this. I guess they figure he is pretty thick skinned..err, good at coping with criticism. 

 

In any event, all of this is rather tame, compared to some other, previous attention given to his supposed eating habits.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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