With pressing diplomatic problems all over the Mideast, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greeted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Friday for top-level talks including gefilte fish.
Those pillows of fish poached in stock (think Yiddish quenelles) are a favorite on the Sabbath and during the holidays. But nine containers of Asian carp fillets from an Illinois fishery destined for a processing plant in Israel have become bogged down in a trade dispute.
Greeting Barak, Clinton mentioned the need for sanctions to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and the touchier issue of Hamas control in Gaza.
“We have so many serious matters to discuss together, but there is one matter that I have to raise that I was asked about in a congressional hearing yesterday, and that is trying to get nine containers of gefilte fish from the processing plant in Illinois to Israel in time for Passover,” she said to laughter.
“So these are intractable problems; this one we might be able to solve,” Clinton said.
On Thursday, she told Rep. Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that she would work to resolve the dispute, which involves a 120 percent import duty on the fish. Barak was optimistic about his talks with Clinton.
“I’m looking forward for fruitful discussion of all issues, including the gefilte fish,” he said.