Lawmakers took a break from their beef and chicken schnitzels at the Knesset cafeteria to try vegan alternatives as part of the Knesset’s annual animal rights day on Tuesday.
Vegan versions of their favorite dishes were served up, including meatless lasagna for Shelly Yachimovich and eggless jachnun, a Yemenite pastry dish, for Eitan Cabel (both of Zionist Union).
Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) tucked into a vegan rice dish based on the Levantine maqluba, while Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), who hosted the feast, ordered a vegan potato strudel.
Lawmakers and visitors were also invited to trace their favorite meat dishes back to the source and view the abusive treatment of livestock through virtual reality glasses.
Animal Rights Day was sponsored by a cross-party group lead by Yael Cohen-Paran and Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union), Sharren Haskel (Likud) and Yael German (Yesh Atid).
“Every year, we prove that it is possible to eat food that is inexpensive, tasty, healthy, nourishing and colorful — and this year also nostalgic and traditional — all involving zero suffering and abuse,” Zandberg said.
Likud lawmaker Nurit Koren said she prepared vegan food for her grandchildren and was on the way to a vegan lifestyle herself.
The day saw special animal rights-related debates at various Knesset committees.
According to the activist group Vegan-Friendly, there are some 300,000 vegans in Israel. At nearly 4 percent of the country, activists say Israel has the highest per-capita vegan population in the world, and the trend appears to be accelerating.
Restaurants now routinely include vegan dishes on their menus, while Israel is often included on lists of the world’s most vegan-friendly nations, thanks in part to the fact that national staples such as falafel and hummus contain no animal products.
JTA contributed to this report.