We all know that India has the highest percentage of vegetarians in the world, but what country has the highest percentage of vegans in the world? The answer is Israel. Israelis are starting to flock to veganism and forego all meat and animal products, to the point where even the military now has options for vegan soldiers. A survey conducted in January found that 8 percent of Israelis are vegetarian and nearly 5 percent are vegan. “It’s the most vegan country in the world,” according to Omri Paz, organizer of the “Vegan Fest” fair, where stands offered pea-based hot dogs, tofu doner kebabs and wheat gluten goulash.
The Vegan Fest in Tel Aviv, where veganism has the most acolytes, attracted 15,000 people in a day. The most-visited stand at the specialized food fair was that of US pizza giant Domino’s, which last year launched in Israel a vegan vegetable pizza topped with soy cheese, a global first for the company which has reportedly sold 300,000 of them so far. In Tel Aviv, one of the city’s best known restaurants Nanushka, renowned for its vodka-laced grills and party atmosphere, announced in February it was going vegan and completely rewrote its menu.
Israel’s vegan community took center stage recently when the popular Big Brother TV show saw vegan activist Tal Gilboa win. In the IDF as well, soldiers are now offered leather-free boots and a small allowance to buy themselves alternatives to the food in mess halls. A Hebrew-subtitled lecture on veganism has garnered nearly a million views on YouTube in a country of just 8 million people.
Vegan food and diets seems to have caught on in every segment of Israeli society from the religious to the more secular, across the political spectrum and the generations. Let’s hope the trend continues!