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Tel Aviv - A New Party That Will Make Tel Aviv The Capital Of The Vegans

Published on: September 23, 2018 04:30 PM
By: Tazpit News Agency
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Tel Aviv - A long queue lines up on a hot and humid late August afternoon outside Anastasia Cafe, a vegan restaurant on the corner of Frishman and Reines in downtown Tel Aviv. Business is booming, just as it as at the 32 other vegan restaurants and 400 “vegan-friendly” food establishments in the city.

“There are at least 25 thousand declared vegans in Tel Aviv,” says Omer Shalev, the 42-year-old founder of Tel Aviv Tivonit, a new vegan party that will run in the next municipal elections on October 30th.

“Everybody flags Tel Aviv as a vegan capital, but there is not even one vegan representative on the city council,” he says while ordering a cheese platter made of cashew, coconut milk, and herbs. “Tel Aviv needs vegan council members that can represent our community.”

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Sitting in the cafe together with his number two Dr. Nadia Ellis, a 38 year-old-lecturer at Tel Aviv University by day and private vegan chef by night, Shalev says the time has come for Tel Aviv to embrace veganism full on.

“Tel Aviv is a world-recognized vegan Mecca but it doesn’t cultivate vegan tourism, it doesn’t promote vegan oriented activities, and it doesn’t support people with a vegan lifestyle,”  Shalev says.

Ellis and Shalev also think the potential of Tel Aviv as a worldwide vegan capital has yet to be exploited. “We will support vegan-friendly events that will attract thousands of vegan tourists,” they say.

While saying that the party doesn’t want to convince anyone to become vegan, they plan to get vegan menus introduced in schools, hospitals, and all municipal institutions, to establish a vegan center that will provide services to the community, to initiate events such as ‘the international vegan day”, the vegan parade and a vegan art festival, and to promote vegan tourism in the city.

“ The purpose of Tel Aviv Tivonit is to the establish a vegan lobby composed of representatives from all the vegan organizations, which are about 10, to promote the veganism within Tel Aviv,” says Shalev.

The campaign of the vegan list ( at the municipality elections can run only lists and not parties)  is still at the beginning. Their budget is based on a head start fundraising campaign. Their list has an internet site in Hebrew language (www.telavivtivonit.com)  and are still working to complete the list of the candidates “we have time until September 27 to present the names of our candidates, we need 11 names, according to the law” said Shalev.

“ Our campaign will be mainly on the social media, during the next list of well known local personalities, like illusionist and television personality Uri Geller will declare their support for us. Also Vegan restaurants and businesses like Anastasia, Sultana and 416 already publicly support us, ”  adds Ellis.

Ellis says that around 8% of Tel Aviv residents define themselves as vegans, compared with around 5% nationwide, and there are other thousands of people who have a vegan-friendly lifestyle. The figures compare with around a 2 percent vegan population in the United States populations being vegan and just 1 percent in Germany.

With around 25,000 vegans in the city that, as Shalev sees it, gives Tel Aviv Tivonit a solid voter base on which to build an election campaign. Shalev, says he looks to LGBT community, of which he is a member, as an example of how an interest group can become influential. “I want to make the vegan community of Tel Aviv strong as the gay community. We need 4,000 for each seat at the Municipal Council, I believe the vegan community will support us, ” he said.

According to Ellis, there is a clear growing trend of vegans “ within 5 years 20-25% of the city’s inhabitants will be vegetarians or vegans” she says.

Despite the main purpose of Tel Aviv Tivonit is to strengthen the vegan agenda in the municipality for Shalev is important to make clear that once elected they will also foster a green agenda.

“ We will act to improve the public transportation in the city and also to create more bicycle trails,” says Shalev “ Tel Aviv is a city well known for its wonderful beaches, we will also promote initiatives to keep the beaches clean and to increase the awareness for recycling“.

Even though the majority of Tel Aviv citizens are secular,  for Ellis is important to appeal also to the religious of Tel Aviv as potential voters.

“ Vegan lifestyle just fits Jewish religion, “ says Ellis,  who originally come from an Italian Jewish orthodox family “Judaism unequivocally forbids humans from causing unnecessary suffering to animals,  Tel Aviv could become a real light tower for the world in this issues”.



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 Sep 23, 2018 at 06:12 PM Anonymous Says:

I'm a second-hand vegan: cows eat grass and I eat cows.

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