Israel takes the swine out of swine flu

By James Martin, May 8, 2009

Israel has re-named the potentially deadly Swine Flu virus as "Mexican Flu" because the virus comes from pigs, which are non-kosher.

Ultra-Orthodox Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman made the announcement at a press conference on the grounds that under Jewish law pigs are considered unclean and pork is non-kosher.

This is despite the fact that the non-kosher meat is available in some stores in Israel.

Mr Litzman was appointed health minister in the recently-formed government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and is one of eight ultra-Orthodox ministers in his administration.

Israel is not the only country to have given the virus a new name. Taiwan has named it “new flu” and the Europan commission uses “novel flu virus”.

Last updated: 12:31pm, May 8 2009