Jerusalemites are still eating chicken [pg. 4]

While Israel's society is usually suspicious of its government, when it comes to bird flu it seems that the average Israeli has decided to place their trust in the government. Last week's outbreak does not seem to have phased Jerusalemites, who continue to frequent butcher shops in Mahaneh Yehuda, grocery stores and restaurants without alarm. "I am completely unafraid. I trust the agricultural department completely," said Leor Student, while leading a tour of Mahaneh Yehuda. "I am ready now to eat chicken or eggs." "The virus cannot be transmitted by eating it. I would eat a chicken that had bird flu as long as it was cooked," said Steve Jones, 42, of Rehavia. Some butcher shops have experienced a slight decline in business, but most owners said it was too early to gauge what the overall impact would be. "Its hard, yes. Its just starting now, though; in a week we will know what will be," said Moti Zizi in his shop in Mahaneh Yehuda. "There are many that don't buy [chicken], but I do," interrupted a customer, as Zizi relayed his concerns to The Jerusalem Post. "Why would I be scared?" the customer asked, as if to alleviate Zizi's fears. "On Friday I sold all the chicken. Some people asked questions, but in the end they bought," said Ahmed Hussein, who works at another butcher shop in the shouk. A butcher named Moshe at Zol Po, Jerusalem's discount grocery store, was concerned that an outbreak of the virus could lead to a shortage of chicken, which would result in a price hike. "If we don't have chicken, the price will go up," he said. Eran Yoshiya, the manager of Poyo Loko, a chicken restaurant in Talpiyot, said last week's incident did not result in any loss of business for him. When asked whether or not he anticipated the price of chicken to increase, Yoshiya said that "prices always skyrocket before Pessah anyway." While last week's outbreak may not have brought with it an accompanying fear, it certainly has stirred conversation among meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Sharon, a vegetarian who works at a vegetarian Indian restaurant in the shouk, said, "We hear people talk [about bird flu], but we don't hear fear yet." "Actually," she added, "since I heard about it, I feel like eating chicken!" "We ate chicken last night and talked about it a lot," said Stephen Levinson, who is currently vacationing in Israel. "We decided that if it's tasty and hot it's okay." When asked if he or his travelling companions were at all worried about the outbreak, Levinson laughed. "I guess if we worried that much about what we do we wouldn't have come here [Israel] in the first place. Or the shouk. And we wouldn't have taken a bus here."