Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hayom esrim yom, shehaym sh'nay shavuot v'shisha yamim baomer

Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut! After India, Israel is the country with the most faith-based vegetarians. The first three chief rabbis of Israel were vegetarian. Perhaps the most famous of them, Rav Kook, wrote the following in "A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace": "[T]he free movement of the moral impulse to establish justice for animals generally and the claim of their rights from mankind are hidden in a moral psychic sensibility in the deeper layers of the Torah." It's worth noting that in the last year, important animal welfare rulings have been made by Israel's Sephardic and Ashkenazi chief rabbis. The Israeli government is on the same page, as it has recently banned the practices of force-feeding birds for foie gras and denying water to calves raised for veal. Also of interest is the fact that vegetarian schnitzel now outsells chicken schnitzel in Israel by a 3:2 ratio, with more than half of the Israeli population regularly eating mock-meat products.

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