The 5 Towns Jewish Times

Vegans Gather in Vegan Capital of the World : Tel Aviv

Nick Cooney speaks at the Vegan Congress in Tel Aviv. “The success of vegan vision requires a change in human behavior," said Cooney. Photo Credit Vegan Congress

Today is the closing day of the fifth annual Vegan Congress which was held this week in Tel Aviv.

The two-day event is sponsored by Vegan-Friendly Israel. Activists such as James Aspey and Joey Carbstrong, as well as Nick Cooney, co-founder of the Good Food Institute, are among the influential guests speakers at this year’s event. Topics are geared toward further promoting the vegan movement to the masses.

The first Vegan Congress was held in 2014 and drew a crowd of 600 visitors. Within three years, the event more than doubled in size, attracting 1,500 people in 2017.

“I am proud that every year, the response is growing,” said Omri Paz, the founder of Vegan-Friendly, to Israel21c. “We will continue to carry the banner of veganism in Israel and lead the field with great pride.”

Israel is quickly becoming a vegan hot spot. As of 2017, the country is home to the most vegans per capita – around five percent of the population.

“Vegan travelers will find a lot to like in Israel,” said Jason Baker, vice president of international campaigns for PETA Asia. “The country is a leader in the switch to vegan eating. Plant-based restaurants are thriving and easily accessible to the one million Israelis – out of a population of eight million, who don’t eat meat.”

Both Israeli citizens and politicians alike are embracing a more cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle. In February, Israeli lawmakers went vegan for one day in honor of Annual Knesset Animal Rights Day. “Every year, we prove that it is possible to eat food that is inexpensive, tasty, nourishing and colorful,” stated MK Tamar Zandberg.