200px-YakovLitzmanCongress.jpgNutty as Jim DeMint's demographic theories might be (see below post), news out of Israel reminds me to be glad that we don't have a coalition system that abets the participation of parties meant to represent nothing but religious extremism.

The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products.

Yakov Litzman is a member of the United Torah Judaism party -- which is in turn the unlikely alliance of two ultra-orthodox parties. Litzman's original affiliation is with Agudat Israel, a party that takes policy instruction from the Hasidic rebbes of Ger, Vizhnitz, Boston and Sadigura, and from the Belz rebbe. But because of the vagaries of coalition politics, he's been made the deputy health minister. That probably seemed a safe place where he could be ignored for a few years. And then a possible pandemic emerged. Now Israel's health ministry is stuck with an extremist who doesn't like saying the name of the flu.

Via Dave Noon.