The following report on a video about Israeli veganism was written by a friend of our site who cannot be identified by name due to position. –Editor.
Scroll down to the video in this piece in Haaretz, in Hebrew. As you can see, it has over 900,000 views – an astronomical number for Israel. It’s a clip showing the reactions of Israeli celebrities as they watch a video of kosher animal slaughtering in Haifa. Some of them are unable to watch thru the end of the video. All the celebrities are secular icons. At least one of them (the brawny dude with tattoos) is disgusted with the lack of feeling in kosher slaughtering.
My experience is that there are tons of Israeli vegans. Probably, due, in part, to the abundance of healthy, flavorful vegetables and fruit. This article also seems to feed off anti-religious sentiment.
But the point of the video for me is that they can watch any number of videos documenting the killing and abuse of Palestinians but they haven’t become anti-Zionists or even vocal anti-Occupation activists. Why aren’t there as many celebrity anti-Occupation activists as vegans?
Here are the comments of the celebrities, in Hebrew, translated into English, and paired with the speakers:
Tattooed man in black sleeveless shirt (“Israel Body +”):
Whoa, Holy smokes! O my god
Motherfucker, poor thing
He’s shaking. He is trying to live. Heartless!
What evil people. SOBs! [Crying]
He’s trying to escape. May God burn them.
So, they slaughter like that, one after the other?!
This is their kosher slaughtering?!
I won’t eat their meat [pulling off earphones, tearing up] even if it kills me. This is too much. Give me a minute.
I stopped eating meat 9 years ago when I saw [an expose] on Kolbotek [a consumer advocacy program]. I got so upset I smashed the TV.
I see Butch and Casey in every one of them… [more expletives]. It’s not as if I don’t know this happens every day but when you see it like this right in front of your face…then you get that it’s like your own animals….I see him trying to run away after being slaughtered and he kicks him so he can slaughter it again (makes a cutting motion)…so that you don’t even have a chance… The motherfucker!
Is this their kashrut?! […] This is their kosher meat.?!
Man in black T-shirt with mop of silver hair:
[Pulling off the earphones] I can’t. I won’t sleep. It makes me feel bad. I can’t watch any more.
I can’t see blood, not human or animal.
It’s awful. Will it be broadcast like that?
Woman with blond hair:
This is crazy. I am so proud of myself that I became a vegan.
People close their eyes and don’t see what they are doing to animals. It’s crazy.
Where do people get this evil come from? Don’t people have a heart? I don’t get it.
Man in white T-shirt with red hat bearing hemp leaf:
How can you see this and then say, “move on”.They are telling you in a straightforward way “this is the situation”. Now, what do you do with that?
Bald guy in blue “Underarmor” t-shirt:
There is no such thing as humane slaughter. Everyone tsk tsks. They need to see this to understand that there is no such thing….there is no such thing…we must just stop it. Stop eating meat. Period. There is no other way.
The video would seem to be part of a trend. If you google “Israeli vegans,” a bunch of articles show up. Some of the articles have the usual Hasbara spin (“World Capital of Veganism”). But they are also backed by data.
I can’t shake the feeling that veganism is a way for Israelis to sacrifice something while avoiding the Palestinian issue.
Why this particular cause? The daily lives of secular Israelis are dominated by kosher laws. You can only find non-kosher food in specialty shops, not supermarkets or chains of 7-Eleven’s. During the week of Passover, whole aisles of supermarkets are papered over so that you can’t find – or buy – the cakes and other leavened foods.
Veganism is a way of universalizing Jewish dietary laws while also taking a swipe at the Orthodox rabbinate’s meat and dairy certification business. Both of these follow two classic goals of Zionism: normalizing Jews/Judaism within the family of nations + anti-clericalism. Though it helps that the local veggies are so good.