World Vegan Day: Israel tagged as global vegan leader
Updated 11:49, 02-Nov-2018
By Stephanie L. Freid
With 400 vegan and vegetarian restaurants and the highest per capita percentage of vegans in the world (5 percent) Israel is considered the capital of veganism – a plant-based diet and lifestyle movement gaining popularity worldwide. 

Veganism defined

Merriam Webster dictionary defines vegan as: "a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals; also: one who abstains from using animal products (such as leather)."
For activists and environmentalists, it's more than that. The meat and dairy industries produce more dangerous gas emission pollutants than all transportation combined. That presents a dangerous future scenario if there's no global drop in meat and dairy consumption.
Vegan stickers. /CGTN Photo

Vegan stickers. /CGTN Photo

Leading Israeli activist Omri Paz predicts that in the future, "countries are going to restrict or heavily tax animal products just because of their huge footprint on the environment... They won't actually have a choice because it'll be either that or the destruction of their countries." 

Israel's vegan scene

In Israel's urban centers, most restaurants offer vegan options – Vegan-Friendly stickers at establishment entrances indicate vegan menu fare.
The range of options runs from haute cuisine items like zucchini stuffed with squash, smoked wheat and figs to one of the Middle East's staples: Shawarma on a spit. Made of soy product and two kinds of mushrooms, its consistency is very much like meat.

Climate change: warnings and action

Omri Paz, Vegan-Friendly Founder. /CGTN Photo‍

Omri Paz, Vegan-Friendly Founder. /CGTN Photo‍

The UN's recent "Climate Report" warned of dire environmental consequences if the world doesn't act quickly to reverse climate change.
For vegan activists, that means taking action to cut down meat and dairy consumption.
One major plan in the works for the Vegan-Friendly organization is the release of a virtual reality simulation where participants choose a menu item – like meat – and are transported to the farming factory where they experience the reality through the eyes of a cow.