Israeli Army to Begin Serving Vegan Food in Mess Halls
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is working to accommodate its vegan service members by providing plant-based diet options in mess halls on bases.
The move cancels the current arrangement that had vegan soldiers being given additional monies to purchase food. The deal sparked outrage in October because the money was not sufficient (“The daily funds cover one meal per day, at best,” soldiers wrote in an online complaint in October) and the logistics were next to impossible as not every base was accessible to make or receive vegan food.
With the growing popularity of veganism in Israel — 5 percent of the population are vegan — the army was quick to rectify the issue.
“I believe the right to food is a basic right,” said Maj. Gen. (res) Yitzhak Brik, the army ombudsman, “and that it is only right that the IDF take the needs of the vegan community into account — as it does those of other communities.”
Under the new rules soldiers will still have the option of bringing food from home, but now they will have allotted space in refrigerators for their plant-based goodies. Also, lawyers will no longer need to be present during home visitations when soldiers declare they are vegan. A simple phone call in front of a unit commander will do. In addition, all soldiers will have the option of wearing leather-free boots and wool-free berets.
Omer Yuval, a reservist who served in Operation Protective Edge and initiated the protest, said, “The decision is definitely encouraging, and we thank the IDF and appreciate the willingness to make such a significant logistical change.”
A great step forward for the Israeli Army.