Major health institutions, restaurants, and company canteens in Israel now opt for a vegetarian Monday.
Proud of its environmental initiatives, Israel created an interactive map showing Israeli green influence around the globe. Israelis can legitimately talk about grass-roots projects like turning a huge landfill into an ecology park, too.
Now Israel has embraced the Meatless Monday movement with enthusiasm. Established in Israel only a few months ago in November 2012, it’s taking off like wildfire.
The Meatless Monday movement began in the U.S. in 2003, at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Monday Campaigns. It gained more popularity when promoted by celebrities Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono in 2009. Tel Aviv University caught on to the meatless day as far back as April 2010, and late in 2013, three women and a few volunteers formally launched the movement in Israel.
Miki Haimovich, Maya Zuriel and Liat Zvi are development and managing partners of the Meatless Monday campaign in Israel and strategic consultants by profession. They are pictured above. Their efforts have had an amazing success in a short period of time.
So far, the Bnei Zion hospital, the Israeli Dieticians Society, and the Israeli Cardiology Foundation have turned their lunchrooms meatless on Mondays, while over 24 restaurants and catering companies have done the same. Large companies like Intel Israel, with over 8000 employees, the national electric company, and Motorola Israel serve meatless Monday meals in their cafeterias. The influential foodie magazine, Al HaShulchan, promotes meatless eating on the second day of the week, reporting many positive responses from readers and restauranteurs.
But it’s hardly surprising.The culture of big, meaty meals never had much of a chance in Israel. Meat was an expensive luxury up until recent years, a splurge for the holidays or weddings. And Israelis of all ethnic streams love their vegetables. A festive meal must always start with at least six, if not a dozen, mezze salads. Falafels and other street food sandwiches are always packed with tomatoes and cucumbers. Salad makes a regular appearance at the breakfast table, something that raises Western eyebrows but is one of the healthiest and most delicious ways to start the day.
Cutting meat out once weekly may not seem to make a great difference, but if enough people do it, the difference in world health and food security, not to mention slowing down the pace of climate change, will be great.
You can find out more about Meatless Monday in Israel here, on the movement’s website (Hebrew), or follow them on Facebook. The video below explains the Meatless Monday movement’s reason for being, in English.
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