Updated: 12 September 2019
After the armed El Al (airline) security staff at Berlin Schönefeld airport had taken every single item out of my hand luggage (backpack), in my absence, and weighed my pack of raisins, in my presence, I boarded the plane. I had bought the plane ticket online and had unticked every single extra cost item, including the choice of a special meal. However, later when checking in online they gave me the option to choose a special meal anyway, so I chose vegan (VGML).
I'm not easily impressed usually, but this vegan cream cheese bagel was pretty amazing. A while later they also gave everyone a small sort of chocolate cake-like cookie, which I refused - I assume it wasn't vegan. But I didn't ask or take a photo of the packaging of my seat neighbour's cookie (ingredients were in Hebrew only).
McDonald's Israel has very recently (July?) introduced a vegan burger named "Big Vegan", and even more recently (August) a double burger called "Double Big Vegan". They are currently testing these in several McDonald's restaurants to see if there is a demand, i.e. these are currently not available at every McDonald's in Israel. I was told that the vegan burger is available at the McDonald's in (near?) the Savidor Center train station in Tel Aviv (one of the only four train stations in Tel Aviv) and also at the McDonald's on Rothschild Boulevard. I didn't try these burgers and I don't know how much they cost.
McDonald's Israel "Big Vegan"
McDonald's Israel "Double Big Vegan"
In streets however, I saw many ads for the "normal" Double Big Mac - made out of slaughtered dairy cows and calves, and some beef cattle. ... The worst crisis however, when it comes to animal slaughter in Israel, consists of the massive amounts of chicken meat consumed in this country - more on this further down.
During the first two nights I was based in Ramat Gan. I found out that the 24 hour supermarket chain "am:pm" is expensive as hell, that there is a Shabbat bus in Ramat Gan driven by Arabs (non-Jewish; religious people and their "logic"!), that Ramat Gan is not technically in Tel Aviv (really it is), and that where I stayed is really close to the fabulous Yarkon park (Yarkon river park), which is the biggest park in Tel Aviv and really, really worth visiting, especially at night. At the park I saw (in order of importance) a jackal, hordes of orthodox Jewish family barbeque HORDES, hordes of jogging bodybuilders, and a hot-air balloon that I first mistook to be the fake full moon of a Haruki Murakami novel, or of the Luna Park - but no, wrong - it's just a hot-air balloon. I also stayed practically next to a vegan "Asian style" restaurant called "Miso" (Jabotinsky 62) - when I first passed by in the morning it was closed, and later it was open but I didn't go. Also don't ask the locals what "Bialik" means - he's a famous poet.
The most important thing in the world: mangoes (imported from Tel Aviv to Ramat Gan)
At the Carmel Market (which they call "Shuk Carmel". Hebrew is quite similar to Arabic; Arabic for market is "souukkh".)
In Shuk HaCarmel we (not a royal we) went to eat hummus at a hummus place that used to be a synagogue. The place is called Hummus Magen David (HaCarmel Street 11) - really worth going there! Hummus is not something you put on bread in Israel. Hummus is a religion shared by both religious and secular (semi-religious), even atheist Israelis. If LARD had been an Israeli band, they would have been called HUMMUS. Anyway, this hummus was pretty good (and cost 15 shekels (~ 3.90 Euros), if I remember right). Note: The top left (11 o'clock) "chili paste" was super spicy. Also: My perception of hummus has been forever altered. You eat a bowl full of hummus (and ask for a refill) - the rest is nonsense.
Somewhere in Ramat Gan, close to the Savidor Center, I saw this Beyond Meat sign (white text on blue background).
If you want to buy a skateboard in Tel Aviv (or like me, just a deck - I brought the rest in hand luggage), I'd recommend going to Lightwave Skate Shop (Bograshov Street 72). Supply is an Israeli brand, and the deck (including griptape cost 230 shekels (~ 59 Euros) which is cheap for Israel). The guy in the skate shop was really nice, very helpful and knew what he was doing.
The first skate shop I had gone to was Endless Roll, just next to Galit skate park, but the cheapest deck they had was around 245 or 250 shekels with griptape (I only had 240 on me). (What I believe were) the owners were an orthodox Jewish couple, who seemed a bit out of place there, and apart from the price, I was prejudiced, i.e. hesitant to buy from (1) religious people, and (2) from people who (prejudice) likely have political views that are very very far from mine. So, I'm quite happy I ended up going to Lightwave and got the Supply deck. I didn't go to (or see) Noiz Skate Shop, but I was probably just in the wrong street - but also, I wasn't fond of buying a deck that says "Zion" on it, especially as in the back of my mind I was considering the theoretical possibility of visiting the skate park of Jayyous in the Palestinian Territories, and leaving my board there - and no one would have ridden a board that says Zion on it.
I didn't buy these shirts, but just for illustration.
A sabich is a typical Israeli sandwich with fried aubergines (eggplants) and it usually comes with a fried egg - but you can have it without the egg and then it's vegan, usually, as far as I understand it. Anyway, this vegan sabich was really good (and cost 23 shekels (~6 Euros)). Unless I'm mistaken this sabich place was at Tchernikovski Street 2 (opposite a shop called Jin-G). I was based in the city centre, really close to this place, for that night.
For dessert we went to a Malabi place. Malabi is an Israeli milky dessert. The place is called "Hamalabya" (Gedera Street 28). They have a non-vegan and a vegan malabi. It is apparently THE place in Tel Aviv to go to for vegan malabi. The non-vegan malabi came in a glass jar, and the vegan one in a flat plastic cup. I had been advised that I must try and seek out vegan malabi, and I wasn't disappointed (I'm easily disappointed). This was really good. (I think it cost 10 shekels, i.e. ~2,60 Euros.)
Next day we went to (I was taken to) Dr. Saadia Falafel (King George Street 45). Later someone described it as probably the best falafel place in Tel Aviv, the rumour being that falafel is much better in Jerusalem (or at least Haifa), but this falafel is apparently practically up to Jerusalem standards. The guy in the shop was also really friendly. Also, I had never heard of or tasted "amba", which is a sort of mango chutney-inspired sauce that is commonly eaten with falafel in Israel. Why is this not common knowledge (and practice) in Europe? (Probably because there is a lack of mangoes here.)
The yellow sauce is amba.
Next day. Homemade Turkish coffee with cardamom inside.
Some Israeli beer with about 10% alcohol. Everything comes in tiny bottles. Beer usually comes in 330 ml bottles.
There are some popsicle style vegan ice creams - but I didn't investigate. The pink "vegan-friendly.co.il" logo can be seen on quite a few products in shops as well as on many restaurant windows.
OK, I really really failed by not going to this 100% vegan ice cream place called "Tivonela" in Jaffa (south Tel Aviv), even though I passed by several times, and even though it's located in the most beautiful part of Tel Aviv. ("Tivoni" is the Hebrew word for vegan.)
Mangoes from Shuk HaCarmel. The problem is bargaining at a market where everything is in Hebrew, and you cannot even understand the price signs (the numbers might refer to the price for 1 kg or for 1/2 kg, or ...). It's a bit tricky. Anyway, good mangoes.
Next day we had hummus at Hummus Abu-Adham (Carlebach Street 7). This hummus was a little different from the one above. This hummus was a bit less smooth, and it came with "fuul" (fava beans). The hummus above was smoother. Some people use the words northern or southern style or "Mashausha" and "Masabaha" - but there seems to be some confusion as to what these terms mean, at least I'm confused.
So, the idea of the "hummus experience" is going to the hummus place around midday - when EVERYONE is going. You wait outside the place, because the place is packed, and write your name down on some waiting list. After a while you can order and go inside into the jam-packed restaurant. The feeling you get inside is that all of this is sort of like a big family gathering. There is no need for extra politeness, and everyone in the place is sort of like your "cousin that you don't really know but who's your cousin after all", a kind of nice familiar atmosphere. The smarter alternative would probably be to go later (for example after 14:00) - but then you'd miss out on the authentic hummus experience. Apparently, the hummus places also just used to make a huge pot of hummus once, and after it ran out they closed the shop - so you wouldn't have been able to go after midday. But nowadays they stay open until later.
Turkish coffee with cardamom at the hummus place.
A random Ethiopian restaurant close to Banana Beach, if I remember right.
The 100% vegan restaurant "Goodness" seems to be one of the hippest vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv at the moment. It's really busy, so you might have to wait outside. It's quite small and has a sort of subtle hippy-punk atmosphere, subtle enough for you to go there if you're wearing a (vegan) Armani suit (even if you're wearing a non-vegan suit, I'm sure). Currently there is a big commotion about Goodness's vegan sunny side up egg burger (see below), including TV appearances and what not.
Vegan shwarma with mushrooms at Goodness. I would say, it was quite good.
The vegan egg burger. I only tried a small piece of the white and a small bit of the "yolk". It didn't cause any flashbacks for me but then again I might just not remember properly (I think I do remember though) or I might just not be the biggest egg fanatic. It seemed good, but not exactly like an egg tastewise. It really looked like an egg though.
Look closely and you can see "Goodness" in the Roman alphabet. Many, if not most restaurants in Tel Aviv, have absolutely nothing written in English (or the Roman alphabet) anywhere.
The next day I went to Hadera. "Isn't Hadera that place that people in Tel Aviv are talking about?" you might say. Well, no. But Hadera - about 40 km north of Tel Aviv - has the best skate park I've been to in Israel, and the best vegan pizza (vegan cheese pizza), and pretty good hummus.
English is almost universally spoken in Israel, but sometimes it's sort of peculiar.
Delicious homemade vegan Israeli food.
These dumpling are called "kubeh" (I think).
Really delicious vegan apple cake (from a store/café).
Delicious vegan ice cream cake (homemade).
Mango tree in the garden
Vegan pizza with vegan cheese locally produced in a kibutz near Hadera (in a non-vegan pizza place in Hadera). The pizza place is called "Pizza Hagag", and it's on HaNassi Street. The kibutz where the vegan cheese is made is called "Gan Shmu'el" which is just north of Hadera.
It seems to be normal in Israel to get a sachet of "pizza spices" with your pizza. Don't tell your Italian friends. (I found a similar sachet from Pizza Hut somewhere on my delirious voyages on the sun-drenched streets of Tel Aviv - I didn't go to Pizza Hut, or Domino's or any such establishment.)
For some reason Mexican beer seems to be popular in Israel. Not really the most environmentally sustainable, unless it's made in Israel (?).
Hummus at Hadera's premier hummus spot called "Moses Hummus" (in the northern industrial area of Hadera, roughly at HaHarash Street 19). Usually hummus doesn't come on a plastic plate - but here everything was plastic. It might be worth considering bringing your own bowl and fork/spoon - everywhere you go in Israel.
Among the Roman ruins in Caesarea (a sort of Hadera suburb), an Israeli monument to male genital cutting and Tel Aviv beach culture (maybe).
This is supposed to be a fruit (?). At a juice stall in Caesaria.
A subliminal message at Hadera skate park
At a mall supermarket in Hadera, lots of vegan refrigerated products.
Cheap (for Israel) supermarket hummus and pitta bread, in the Hadera "forest".
100 shekel note (~26 Euros)
A meat truck with a cartoon pig
The "Green Cat" too is one of the hippest vegan restaurants, in the category of not too fancy, in Tel Aviv. "Green cat" is just the translation. The locals call it by the Hebrew name. There seems to almost be a consensus that this place has the best pizza - ever. I'm not sure why. The pizza was good, but not mind-blowingly amazing (unlike the pizza in Hadera, see above). If Goodness (see above) is subtly hippy-punk, this place is not so subtly hippy-punk, which I don't mind, and the people love it (see below). (That really weird symbol means "shekels".)
Root beer (just because I hadn't had root beer in 20+ years I think) - I'm not sure if this is made in Israel
We chose two extra toppings. So, this pizza cost 99 shekels (~25 Euros). Again, this was good pizza, not bad, pretty good. Maybe they lack Italians in Israel.
This is the most common soya milk in Israel. It tastes a bit like liquid ice cream. From what I can tell it's also fortified with various nutrients including vitamin B12. As someone who does not know any Hebrew of any kind, the Hebrew only everywhere is like Chinese (unless you can read Chinese). The packaging until recently had the English word "soy" on it (I was told) but now there isn't a single English word on the carton, nor is there a picture of soya beans, so you really cannot tell if this is animal milk or what the hell it is. However, if you have this picture you can easily identify it in the supermarket (just look at the big green "word"). Anyway, this costs around 11 shekels (~2.80 Euros) minimum.
The Florentin neighbourhood of Tel Aviv is really something I almost missed, and you (depending on what you like) shouldn't miss it - as in you should go there and see it - I think. It's full of vegan and vegan-friendly places. It is a sort of a "typical" was-once-poor-but-now-being-gentrified kind of neighbourhood.
This is "Coco", a vegan chocolate shop - again, I really failed at managing to go there. This was in the morning when it was still closed. On the same little side street there is also a good money exchange place.
Another 100% vegan café in Florentin named "Shizen", which combines a flower shop with a vegan food place. I only passed by.
At "Tenat", a 100% vegan Ethiopian restaurant in Tel Aviv. I'm not an expert in Ethiopian food, and I do love injeera, but the food here was a little bit bland. The guy in the restaurant was really friendly though.
Just outside Tenat
When open (I was here with the formidable Sharbel Balloutine)
Somewhere in Ramat HaHayal on a secret night mission
At (what I think is called) "Kitzis ecological garden" (at Shalom Ash Street and Kitzis Street) there is a free books shelf, and some fish prisoners kept for decoration.
Some interesting finds (they're probably all still there).
"The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, arguably the most influential pediatrician of all time, has left children and their parents with a surprising and rather demanding legacy: advice that they stick to a vegetarian diet devoid of all dairy products after the age of 2". (New York Times, 20 June 1998)
There was an Ed Templeton painting inside.
"Vaniglia" is an ice cream parlour chain with quite many places all around Tel Aviv. They have quite a large selection of vegan ice cream and the ice cream cones are vegan too. I went to one in the centre and to one at a mall (Mikado Center) in Tel Baruch (northern suburbs). I tried the peanut butter, the berries, and the "Lotus" (aka Speculoos spread) flavours.
There are many ice cream places all over Tel Aviv, and most (if not all) have some vegan options.
A "Vaniglia" branch somewhere in the centre.
Note: Just ask which flavours are vegan. But also, the vegan ice cream flavours have the pink "vegan friendly" heart logo. Don't mistake the Vaniglia "V" logo for a vegan logo.
Vaniglia: Somewhere in the Old North of Tel Aviv
Vaniglia: at the Mikado Center in Tel Baruch (northern suburbs)
On the same street you have "Frishman Falafel" and "Frishman Sabich" next to each other (Frishman Street 44) which have vegan options.
This place is called "Market" (Dizengoff Street 140). I only passed by.
A vegan shoe shop called "Vegan Mind", also on Dizengoff Street (Dizengoff Street 272). Again, I only passed by because I really didn't want to buy shoes.
There is a supermarket in the Old North of Tel Aviv (on Arlozorov Street, approximately number 55) that is not too expensive for Israeli standards. I went there to buy mangoes, hummus and pitta bread. They also have vegan Ben & Jerry's ice cream - which I didn't try. (I have never in my life eaten Ben & Jerry's anything. For me ice cream is something associated with Italy ... another story. If I understand this right, the price for one tub is 34 shekels (~8.70 Euros).
"Susu & Sons" is an Israeli burger chain (non-vegetarian). This particular place was at the entrance to Shuk HaCarmel (Carmel market). They had a vegan Susu burger (~40 shekels I think) and they had a vegan Beyond Meat burger (~60 shekels I think).
Vegan Susu burger - I didn't try it.
I think, this is "Falafel Mevorach" (Ibn Gavirol Street 189), 100% vegan and English menu. Only passed by.
This, unrecognizable to the uninitiated, is "Alegria" (Ibn Gavirol Street 165), 100% vegan and allegedly pretty good food. Only passed by. Even though Happy Cow rates it as being quite cheap (one $ sign), this place might be quite pricey (word on the street) - I didn't go there, so I don't know.
This is "Rainbow" (Ibn Gavirol Street 88), 100% vegan, mostly burgers, I think. The owners seem to also own "Green Cat", see above.
This is a health food store that said vegan on the outside, somewhere in the same area. Only passed by.
"Herzog" (Ibn Gabirol Street 48), 100% vegan, known for their "mountains" - a pile of healthy food rumoured to be pretty awesome. Only passed by. "Herzog" is also spelled "Hertzog" - note that everything in English is just a transliteration of Hebrew, like the street name "Ibn Gvirol" might be spelled "Ibn Gavirol" or "Ibn Gabirol" or in any way you like.
"Herzog" by the way is located in one of the two "vegan blocks" in Tel Aviv - there should be vegan shwarma, Korean vegan "poke", and vegan French crèpe more or less next door to Herzog.
This brand new place got many people excited: a 100% vegan Druze restaurant. This was two days before the official opening of the restaurant. The name is "Khudari" (Carlebach Street 39, opposite Cinemateque) which is the Arabic word for "vegan" coined by Sharbel Balloutine. The place looks really cool, see more below.
They didn't have an English menu yet, the friend who accompanied me kindly translated everything for me.
Another 100% vegan place close by, called "Bari Plus" aka "Mr Marak" (Marmorek Street 21). Only passed by.
The "Green Butcher" on Ben Yehuda Street 98. Again, the English name is just the translation. The staff was pretty friendly, and the food, made with Beyond Meat, was pretty good. I would really recommend visiting this place.
Ara-ís (how I would spell it). This was really good. (35 shekels = ~9 Euros)
Ara-ís traditionally is ground meat in pitta bread.
"Kebab meal" made with Beyond Meat (49 shekels = ~13 Euros)
"Casa de acai" (Dizengoff Street 105). After talking about Brazil for too long we had to go to an açaí place. The açaí was quite good but too small and not as good as in Brazil of course. There should be a worldwide movement to plant açaí everywhere. The açaí bowl usually contains honey, but you can ask for date syrup instead.
Towards the end of my investigation I stayed in the northern suburbs. This is at the Mikado Center mall in Tel Baruch, and I'm outside McDonald's using their free WIFI. Conveniently, there was a "Vaniglia" (see above) ice cream place just next to the McDonald's.
There aren't insanely many stray cats in Tel Aviv, but there are some, and with many you can see that the very tip of one their ears has been cut off - this means that they have been spayed.
Then ... I walked northwards, out of Tel Aviv, to see what the zvonis are up to.
Animals as slaves. Maybe we should glorify other things that do not involve exploitation and do not cause suffering.
Next to this McDonald's sign ...Burger ranch), and they also have a vegan burger - I'm not sure if all branches have the vegan burger though. I did not investigate. ... Also, by the way, there is quite common petrol station chain called "Yellow" (actually spelled in English), and most of them have vegan shwarma and falafel too (I was told).
There are sort of many dead pigeons in Tel Aviv. I'm not sure why.
When segregation is fair enough. Luckily many parks in Tel Aviv have water dispensers with drinking water. This one is in Yarkon Park.
The Australian emu and his killer feet. Don't get too close to the fence, because these feet can kill, literally.
Tel Aviv (like Germany) is full of places that advertise themselves as "meat places". Is this a reaction to the growing trend of vegetarianism and meat reducetarianism? Or is it just a sign of progressive ideocracy?
Another 100% vegan place, called "Superfood Boutique" (Marmorek Street 10). Only passed by.
This was the night of the opening of "Khudari": 25 August 2019 (see above; Carlebach Street 39). Living history. You should probably really go and support this place and check out their food. Unconfirmed rumours say that every restaurant on that corner (that exact location) usually shuts down with a few months. So, if you are superstitious, go there while it's still there, and if you're anti-superstition go there to make sure the rumour will be proven wrong. The food I tried (below) was pretty good, but again not mind-blowingly unforgettable.
This dish is called "maluba", I think. (Each of these two dishes cost about 55 shekels (~14 Euros) if I remember right.)
There are many vegan rumours in Tel Aviv, but the most persistent one might be the one about the vegan steak at 416 and how amazing it is. In the end, I didn't try it. Also, I didn't figure out which side is the main entrance to 416.
Street entrance to 416. To me, this looks like the sort of place where the guys from Ministry and KMFDM - if they had vegan tendencies - would meet some weird French film maker - but I tend to have pretty wacky ideas.
This is the "square" entrance to 416, in the distance. This square is really really cool to hang out at night. You should probably really visit 416, and try the steak, and tell me what it was like. I think it costs around 20 to 25 Euros.
Meanwhile ... just around the corner. In the city of gay bodybuilders, beach boy culture and wanna-be street art, a trace of vegan dadaism.
Again, "Khudari", when I walked past in the morning after the opening.
One of the many black panthers I met.
Animals as slaves. Horse-drawn carriages were criticized by the Jewish animal rights advocate and inventor Lewis Gompertz in London in the 1800s, for being cruel and for violating animals' basic rights. When will they be made illegal?
A slushy at a secret location high above the clouds (exaggeration)
Before I went to the airport I had a few shekels left, and not many places where still open at ~22:30. So, I went to Goodness again.
Cake display at GoodnessNeapolitan wafer" at the bottom. (This cost about 32 shekels, i.e. ~8.20 Euros.) As it also contained chocolate pieces and was quite thick anyway it was a bit difficult to drink with the cardboard straw which started to disintegrate quickly. Anyway, that's what I ordered.
At the airport, the airport police people at the luggage scanner were, I would say, very aggressive. I get it, Israel is a country at war, and everybody (pretty much) hates Israel, and it's not fun to work at 4:00 am. I was not physically attacked though, so that is something at least. If you want to avoid some of the aggression from the Israeli airport security check police (or whatever they are), I'd recommend packing you hand luggage like this: Take everything that's "weird" out of the bag before the scanner, and place it in the plastic tray separate from your bag. I had a skateboard tool - which was perfectly fine - but until they found it, and I didn't know what they were looking for, they were close to exploding, it seemed. Any non-clothing items, I would put in a separate bag, that you could either take out before the scanner or take out after the scanner in case they have questions, so they can easily find whatever they find weird. Even if I had any intention of ever visiting Israel again, this was not something I enjoyed. People with guns who act like fascists are my least favourite kind of people. As one of the security people said though: "I've received much worse treatment in Germany" (after I told him the way he spoke to me was rude).
For the flight back (El Al) I had again checked in online. There hadn't been any option to select a special meal. But to my surprise I again received a vegan meal, this time a vegan cheese bagel which was quite good. I don't know what the ingredients were. But maybe you can read them.
Having arrived in Berlin Schönefeld airport, they were unloading live fishes! The boxes say "Tropical ornamental fish intended solely for ornamental purposes in the European Community". Despite the scientific consensus that vertebrate animals can feel, nonhuman animals are still treated like things, bought and sold, used for decoration, food, etc. If you care about justice and not just a bigger slice of the cake for yourself (like many political activists), then you will surely agree that all trade of nonhuman animals (like all trade of humans), i.e. selling and buying them, must be made illegal. All slaughterhouses must be made illegal, all animal breeding must be made illegal. If you don't agree, why not? Maybe because you do not really care about justice.
The animal rights movement in Israel - in crisis?
I don't know much about the animal rights (AR) movement in Israel. But from what I've heard, there is a split (or many splits) within the AR movement, based on people within the movement having vastly different opinions when it comes to human rights, nationalism, religion, and war.
In any case, it seems useful to me to consider what the aims of the AR movement are: Is our aim to "just" promote veganism? Or is our aim to reduce the number of animals killed and the extent of human-inflicted animal suffering? (ideally, reduce it to zero, of course)
Surely Israel is different in several ways from many other countries. But Israel is different too, when it comes to meat consumption:
The following data have been taken from FAOSTAT (29-31 August 2019).
Note that the latest data points (most recent year) are for 2013.
Per capita meat consumption (all types of meat of land animals) is higher in Israel compared to (probably all) European countries, even slightly higher than Europe's top (per capita) meat consuming nation, i.e. Spain.
Amount of meat consumed (per capita) in the United States, Israel, and several European countries
(top curve: USA)
Comparison of meat consumption (per capita) in Israel and Spain:
What's worse, Israel consumes more poultry meat than even the United States.
(top curve: Israel)
Israel seems to be the top (per capita) consumer of chicken meat (and poultry meat in general) in the world!
It could be useful to make campaigns in Israel specifically against eating chicken meat. One slaughtered chicken will "provide" only one meal (roughly), while one slaughtered cow or bull (cattle) will "provide" (very roughly speaking) 500 meals. That means, eating chicken (or other small animals) is - from an animal rights perspective - the worst thing that anybody could do, because it causes the most amount of suffering and killing.
Despite being a nation with a long coastline, the consumption of fish and other sea animals is intermediate compared to many European countries.
Here you can see European countries that consume more "fish and seafood" (per capita) than Israel.
(bottom curve: Israel)
Despite this, campaigns specifically against eating fish and sea animals could be useful - but it should be asked how low people are willing to take their consumption of fish. This data also strengthens the conclusion from the previous graphic: The worst crisis is happening with chickens.
Israel's meat consumption (per capita) compared to their neighbouring countries (data for Palestine not available, as far as I can see). Israel consumes (per capita) much more meat (all types; land animals) and poultry meat than Lebanon, Jordan or Egypt. Israel (per capita) consumes about the same amount of fish and seafood as Egypt, and much more than Lebanon or Jordan.
Consumption (per capita) of all types of (land animals) meat - Israel and neighbouring countries
Consumption (per capita) of poultry meat - Israel and neighbouring countries
Consumption (per capita) of fish and seafood - Israel and neighbouring countries
Development of consumption of animal products in Israel over the years (Again note that the latest data point is for 2013):
Amount of cephalopods (squids etc.) consumed in Israel (per capita)
This increase is terrible, as cephalopods are highly sentient and intelligent and likely very aware of their own suffering.
Amount of cheese consumed in Israel (per capita)
Amount of crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, etc.) consumed in Israel (per capita)
This increase is terrible, as crustaceans are highly sentient and likely very aware of their own suffering.
Amount of eggs consumed in Israel (per capita)
Amount of fishes consumed in Israel (per capita)
pelagic = living in the open sea
demersal = living near the bottom of the sea
Amount of honey consumed in Israel (per capita)
Amount of liquid milk consumed in Israel (per capita)
Amount of pig meat ("pork") consumed in Israel (per capita)
Amount of different types of meat consumed in Israel (per capita)
Even by amount - not just by the number of animals killed - people in Israel (on average) consume much more poultry meat than any other type of meat. This again confirms the above suggestion to make specific campaigns in Israel against consuming chicken meat.
Actual numbers of animals slaughtered in Israel (per year)
Number of birds slaughtered - excluding chickens
(top curve: turkeys)
Number of birds slaughtered - including chickens
(top curve: chickens)
Number of chickens slaughtered in Israel: an all-time high of 480 million chickens in 2017 (most current year available on FAOSTAT)
Note: This increase might also be at least partly due to population growth in Israel, see below.
Number of large animals slaughtered
(two top curves: beef cattle and dairy cattle)
Number of milk animals slaughtered
(top curve: sheep)
This means more sheep are slaughtered in Israel for sheep milk than cows for cow's milk.
Amount of non-meat animal products produced in Israel
Production of dairy products (Note: This increase might be largely due to population growth in Israel, see below)
Production of eggs (Note: This increase might be largely due to population growth in Israel, see below)
Production of cattle skins
Population growth in Israel
The number of animals slaughtered in a country are - of course - influenced by the number of animals imported and exported by a country.
Number of large animals imported by Israel
Israel imports many sheep.
Number of small animals imported by Israel
Israel imports many chickens.
Number of large animals exported by Israel
Number of small animals exported by Israel
The environmental argument for veganism, or at least for meat reduction
Even though it is not clearly noticeable - at least when away from the mega-roads - the air pollution in Tel Aviv is terrible: according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the levels are 100% above the safety limit.
For comparison: Berlin is 70% over the limit, London 10%, Paris 40%, Madrid 10%, Istanbul 230%, Los Angeles 20% over the limit, ... and New York City is 30% BELOW the limit.
CO2 emissions (CO2 equivalents) from agriculture in Israel
A major contributor to CO2 emissions in Israel - apart from cars and planes - also might be air conditioning.
The health argument for vegan diets, or at least for meat reduction
If health arguments are used to motivate people to change their diets and lifestyles, this should not be done (I think) in a way that tries to trick people by using dodgy information that is not based on current scientific evidence.
The top 20 risk factors for an early death in Israel (data from the Lancet, Global Burden of Diseases website):
Many of these risk factors can be improved by following a healthy plant-based diet.
Click to enlarge
Data taken from FAOSTAT:
Vegetable and fruit consumption in Israel
The fruit and vegetable intake in Israel is not very low actually, but it can still be recommended to increase it back up to earlier levels or even higher (around the year 2000 the fruit and vegetable intake was higher than it is now).
Like the Harvard School of Public Health say: Make half of your diet fruit and vegetables.
Legumes and nuts (excluding peanuts in this case) consumed in Israel
Less than 30 grams per day of legumes (per capita) in Israel (land of hummus and falafel) does not seem like much (higher than many European countries, lower than India). Maybe there should be a campaign to eat more hummus (and falafel, tofu, peanuts and other legumes/legume foods).
Legumes are probably the most sustainable protein source, and should be pushed as a main source of protein for everyone.
Definitely the consumption of soya bean foods (tofu etc.; and maybe the cultivation of soya in Israel) should be pushed and false claims about soya foods ("feminizing effect on men", "causes cancer", "causes thyroid disease", etc.) should be dispelled. These wrong claims prevent people from choosing alternatives to animal products.
Only around 16 grams per day of treenuts (per capita) is quite low. So, the consumption of nuts and seeds should be pushed. Sesame seed (tahini) consumption in Israel is an additional ~13 grams per day (per capita). Maybe there should be a campaign to eat more tahini and more nuts and seeds (Which are locally grown? Sunflower seeds? Pistachios? Almonds?).
Maybe there could be cooperations with nut growers' associations and legumes growers' associations (or hummus companies? etc.) to promote their products.
Nuts and seeds have a myriad of health benefits (see here and here), which could potentially be marketed much more to the general public - especially also to men and in regard to men's health.
The way out of the crisis
Now, it is probably less than welcome when a foreigner with little knowledge of anything in Israel and the surrounding region starts chiming in with well-meaning advice. ... Then again, it might be good advice.
The problem of "infighting" within political movements is possibly (almost) as old as the human species - nicely illustrated in Monty Python's "Life of Brian" when the "Judean People's Front" fight against the "People's Front of Judea".
There ARE real political differences - and these differences are about the life or death of real people. But the AR movement is also working to prevent the killing and suffering of real animals - in outrageous, unthinkable numbers, and there is an out of control ESCALATION of meat consumption and human-inflicted animal suffering worldwide, and that is a modest way to describe the problem.
It is therefore important to end the crisis now, and to start making our efforts for all animals more effective now.
If you have or are part of an AR organization who struggles making decisions on who to work with anymore - because of vast political differences, I would suggest writing a list of criteria (a "cooperation manifesto") - whoever does not fulfil these criteria will not be cooperated with. Whoever DOES fulfil them can be cooperated with, and if someone ends up criticizing your particular cooperation with someone else, you can refer to your list of criteria and thus explain your decision.
A sample list of criteria for cooperations with others:
(Make up your own criteria.)
1) Anyone who is a member or supporter of a fascist organization, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Lehava (a sort of wanna-be Jewish Ku Klux Klan), etc. CANNOT be cooperated with.
2) Israel is a country at war. It seems very tricky to navigate the right steps. However, it can be agreed that any attack of Israel or people in Israel with rockets, drones with explosives, guns, etc. is a violation of human rights and therefore unacceptable. Organizations or persons who promote or condone such acts CANNOT be cooperated with.
[During just the two weeks I was in Tel Aviv, two Israeli teenagers were injured in a West Bank car-ramming attack, in total eight (?) rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, Israeli forces killed 4 or 5 (exact number unknown) armed Palestinians who tried to enter Israel from Gaza, an Israeli teenage girl was killed and her father and brother severely wounded in a remote-control bomb-blast in the West Bank, Iran flew explosive-laden drones into Israel from Syria, the Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah spoke of the cooperation between the fascist Hezbollah, the Lebanese people and the country’s army, the Israeli army struck terrorist targets in Syria and Lebanon, killing several people (quite possibly all fascist militants) and "Israeli military officials have warned in recent weeks of an increase in terrorist activities and violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the lead-up to next month’s Israeli elections." (Times of Israel)]
3) Any organization or person who promotes racist ideas, such as "wiping Israel of the map", "Arabs being inferior", etc. CANNOT be cooperated with.
4) Any organization or person who does not agree with the ideal of equality of the sexes, equality of people with different sexual preferences and practices (which do not harm others), equality of people of different a skin colour or ethnicity, and equality of non-believers and people with any kind of religious faith (which does not harm others) and/or who opposes the idea of a multicultural society CANNOT be cooperated with.
5) The biggest problem in Israel - apart from the mass killing of nonhuman animals - is arguably the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and the violation of human rights in this region (by anyone against anyone) will - I don't see how it would not - foster continued violence and war and will help fascist organizations recruit more angry, humiliated, desperate, often underprivileged and uneducated (and religiously delirious) people. Any organization or person who does not share the goal of ending all human rights violations everywhere CANNOT be cooperated with. (At least they should make an effort to explicitly state this goal.)
6) Obviously, organizations or persons who deny or glorify the Holocaust CANNOT be cooperated with.
(Again, these are just criteria, that I as a relatively clueless foreigner made up. So, adjust them or rewrite them based on your more well-informed knowledge.)
"I represent a not insignificant section of Palestinian society that aspires to peace and that thinks we should work hand in hand with Israelis sharing the same vision. We have to overcome our differences and stop the violence. The same land that Palestinians want to claim as their ancestors’ is also the land where many Israelis were born who have only ever known the state of Israel as their homeland. Both groups have an equal claim to the same territory and can call it home. However, the structural differences between Palestinian and Israeli society are such that it is difficult, indeed impossible, to arrive at a peaceful cohabitation between the two countries.
A peaceful solution must be found to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The creation of a Palestinian state will never happen, however, if people’s mentalities don’t change: Palestinians and Israelis both have to accept the idea of two complementary states. Similarly, there has to be an intermingling of these societies to help Palestinians catch up to modern Israelis. First, though, the hateful racism against “Jews” and “Arabs” has to be eradicated from both sides of the conflict so that they can share the same geographic space, the same workplaces, the same schools. Obviously, the need to promote secular values is a crucial step in that process." Waleed Al-Husseini, a Palestinian atheist and author who lives in political asylum in France, in his book "The Blasphemer" (2017)
Questions foreigners might ask themselves:
- What about the shechita slaughtering of animals? Isn't this even more cruel than slaughtering animals with previous stunning?
As described in an article by Pozzi and Waner (2017), "Shechita is the procedure of killing or slaughtering animals for food production, according to Jewish tradition and it is performed without prior stunning. [...] It is possible to identify animal welfare issues in the rules for shechita: correct restrain of the animal; adequacy of the instrument (knife); technical ability of the operator. Animals restrain techniques evolved along the time in order to accomplish to less stressful immobilization of animals in course of shechita. When performed in the right way, shechita cannot be framed as negligent or intentionally painful, distressing or inducing su[ff]ering to animals. Today's stunning techniques raise concerns relative to adequacy and e[ff]ectiveness of stunning on animals, with welfare implications due to automatism of next dressing procedures."
This quote trivializes shechita slaughter somewhat. Shechita slaughter of course induces animal suffering and - like all forms of slaughter - it constitutes the murder of an animal. However, it is not clear whether, if the regulations are strictly followed, shechita slaughter is more or less or equally as cruel as slaughter with prior stunning (stunning techniques sometimes fail). All slaughter of animals should be opposed.
From Pozzi and Waner (2017):
- What about genital cutting of young boys ("circumcision", practiced in Israel and many parts of the world)? Isn't this a violation of human rights?
I don't see how it can be convincingly argued that in a country with sufficient access to water for personal hygiene cutting off the foreskin in underage boys would NOT be a violation of human rights. However, in adult men cutting off the foreskin might at least somewhat lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) - but adults can decide for themselves, children cannot.
I agree with the following statement by Pietro el al. (2017): "Since preventive male circumcision determines permanent alteration of the body, some authors believe that it can be used only in subjects that are capable of giving their valid consent [men aged 18+ years]. In the case of a newborn, the ″child's best interest″ should be used as a standard, but preventive newborn male circumcision does not satisfy it.
[...] The risk of penile cancer, of infection of STDs and HIV infection/AIDS are strictly connected to sexual activity: it should, therefore, be the individual’s responsibility, once they reach the age of consent, to choose if to be circumcised or to adopt other forms of prevention."
(Note: There are different opinions - quite likely by "circumcised" men (?) - on male genital cutting in boys; see here for example.)
- How many vegans are there in Israel?
According to an article in Haaretz from 2014, about 4-5% of the Israeli population follows a vegan diet. According to an article on "Israel21c" from 2017, the percentage is about 4%. Both of these numbers seem to come from the group "Vegan Friendly".
The Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel, in a report from 2016, states that 1.7% of people in Israel reported "being vegan". 9% of people with a university degree reported being vegan.
- Is there free WIFI in Tel Aviv?
There is free WIFI ("free TLV WIFI") at the beaches, around Banana Beach and Bograshov Beach, for example. Many big hotels have free WIFI that you can use from the outside without any password (for example the hotel just next to the clock tower in Jaffa - there is a nice beach there too). Some "official" buildings, for example just outside the (former) American embassy, have free WIFI. Many railway stations (not all, but probably all four in Tel Aviv) have free WIFI. The "free TLV WIFI" also works around the main streets in the centre such as large parts of Dizengoff and Ibn Gvirol.
- Can I travel using a car sharing app in Israel?
The app "Moovit" has been highly recommended to me. It's like "blablacar". I tried using the app but the two drivers I did contact never replied. Another disadvantage is also that the app's map is only in Hebrew. And the prices seemed only barely cheaper than the train.
- How do I use the train?
Using the train is easy. There are four train stations in Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv University, Savidor Center, Hashalom, and HaHagana). (There is no metro - they're building one.) From Ben Gurion airport you can take a train to one of the stations in Tel Aviv - the price should be the same (it currently costs 13.50 shekels one way, ~3.50 Euros). Within Tel Aviv one journey currently costs 7 shekels (~1.80 Euros).
You can check the train times and the ticket prices here: https://www.rail.co.il/en
You can buy the ticket from the person behind the counter (they all speak English, but don't smile, and might be pretty unfriendly), or the machines (they have an English "menu").
- How do I use the busses?
I didn't use the busses because you first need to get a top-up card called Rav-Kav card. I didn't bother to find out how this works.
- Where else can I find vegan pizza in Tel Aviv?
Apart from the "Green Cat", for example at Tony Vespa and at Domino's.
- Can I find vegan challah bread anywhere?
Usually challah contains egg (and milk?). I didn't try hard enough to find out where you can get vegan challah.
- Where can I find vegan shakshuka?
Another thing I failed at getting. But I was told "Michaelangelo" (100% vegan), "Anastasia" (100% vegan) and maybe "Albi" (non-veg) should have vegan shakshuka.
- Where can I find vegan malawach (Yemenite Jewish pancakes)?
I have no idea what this is, but I was told they have it at Saluf & Sons (Nahalat Binyamin Street 80), and the prices might be cheaper around 17:30 to 20:30.
- What was the very first 100% vegan restaurant in Israel?
From what I know it was "Taste of Life" (Ben Yehuda Street 43), which now is closed unfortunately.
- Hebrew basics:
Tiv-oni = vegan
Toda = thank you
Al-Lo-Davar = you're welcome
Bete avon = enjoy your meal
Le chaim = cheers (when drinking)
Bokher tov = good morningTov = good
Tov meod = very good
Lehit raot = see you
Add-on: 10 things I didn't know about Israel, antisemitism, and Nazi Germany
1) More than 50% of Israelis are refugees from Arab countries and Iran, or descendants of these refugees, who fled their home countries because of violent Islamic antisemitism.
2) A large part of the people who keep voting for Netanyahu are refugees from Arab countries and Iran.
3) Antizionism was already a part of the ideology of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler and Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg promoted the idea that countries like Germany were "natural nation states" whereas the idea of Israel was of an "artificial" state, an "artificial" construct.
4) The Nazis published their antisemitic propaganda in Arabic, Turkish and Persian in order to spread "the word".
5) There are dozens of Arabic editions of the antisemitic propaganda text "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".
6) Antisemitism is not just a type of racism. Antisemitism is intertwined with the idea that the Jews per se are "sly" - clever, cunning, and good with money - and thus want to control the world.
7) Islamic fascists view the idea of nation states as a Western concept. In its place they strive for a supra-national 100% Islamic fundamentalist community they call "ummah".
8) Modern Islamic antisemitism attacks Jews (and Israel) as representatives of modernity.
9) Palestinian refugees experience fierce discrimination in Arabic countries, including Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
10) The United Nations Human Rights Council has a long history of bias against Israel. However, as of August 2019, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) "The United Nation’s anti-racism committee criticized Palestinian authorities in a Thursday report, calling on the “State of Palestine” to act against “racist hate speech and hate crimes,” including incitement to violence against Israelis and Jews." (Times of Israel, 31 August 2019) The CERD is concerned about: "the existence of hate speech in certain media outlets, especially those controlled by Hamas, social media, public officials’ statements and school curricula and textbooks, which fuels hatred and may incite violence, particularly hate speech against Israelis, which at times also fuels antisemitism". (CERD, 29 August 2019)
Countries that have never recognized Israel include - apart from the usual suspects - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Comoros, Djibouti, Indonesia, and North Korea. Countries that have withdrawn recognition of Israel include Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, viewed 12 September 2019).
Want to read (coming in November 2019): Comprehending and confronting antisemitism