The Uniqueness of Israel
Israel – The Vegan Capital of the World
Across the world veganism is rapidly gaining in popularity and Israel is no exception. In fact, Israel is home to the world’s highest number of vegans per capita and around 5% of the population are vegan. One of the reasons for this is that many traditional Israeli foods are vegan. For instance, there is nothing in a falafel that a vegan cannot eat and Israelis tend to eat a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, grains and so on. Furthermore, as the majority of places in Israel are kosher it is easy for people to identify what they are eating. As a result of the growth of veganism a number of restaurants now offer vegan options. Whether you are ordering a pizza or eating out in a coffee shop or fancy restaurant, it is not unusual to find special vegan menus. New vegan restaurants are opening all the time, from chef restaurants to fast food, so there are plenty of options for vegans to discover and enjoy. If you are in Tel Aviv and a vegan then you are truly spoilt for choice. There are over 400 vegan and vegetarian restaurants where you can go for a meal and if you are with friends that are not vegan, you can always go to a restaurant that caters to both. Browsing the markets around Tel Aviv and Jaffa you will find masses of vegan produce, from the obvious such as fruit and vegetables, to the more novel such as gourmet vegan chocolate bars. Those spending time in Jerusalem also have a great deal of choice. There are plenty of hummus places and pretty much every major café chain now has a vegan menu. Of course the market is packed full of vegan friendly food and as you walk around the streets you will notice vegan restaurants, there are even vegan shawarma places in the centre of town. As mentioned, going vegan doesn’t have such a big impact on Israeli’s diets as it does elsewhere. They can still enjoy a great number of the staples of Israeli cuisine. Furthermore, there is a large amount of activism in Israel and it is having a great effect on the young. In recent years Big Meat and Big Dairy have seen a 5% year-over-year decline in sales, largely due to the growing popularity of veganism. In September 2017 Tel Aviv was host to one of the world’s largest ever animal-rights marches. Around 30,000 people took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against animal cruelty in the food, entertainment and research spheres. The event attracted leading activists from across the world and further cemented the country’s reputation as a vegan paradise. Of course, veganism isn’t for everyone and there are many arguments for and against the lifestyle. However, if you are vegan, or you want to learn more about veganism, then Israel is certainly the place to do so. While on your gap year you are sure to meet plenty of locals and it is likely that a number of them will be vegan, so be prepared to hear all about it.