The answer is yes and no. Felafel are little patties made from chickpeas, burghul, garlic, lemon juice and spices. The mixture can be rolled into small balls with clean, cool hands, but a special utensil is used by Middle East cooks to shape them and slip them into the deep hot oil to cook.
The patties are used in a very popular 'street food' in the Middle East where, although an Arab invention, it is also known as an Israeli hot dog! The patties are tucked into halves of pita pocket bread or rolled up in flat warm pita bread, topped with tomato, lettuce and tabbouleh, then drizzled with harissa or savory tahini sauce. This whole assembled package is also known as falafel.
The spelling, however, appears to be interchangable for both the patties and the pita bread package. And they are one of the healthiest and most noufishing fast foods served today.