Israel has just appointed its military’s first vegan chief of staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi.
The plant-powered Kochavi is a former Paratrooper. He has master’s degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins as well as a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hebrew University, Jewish Press reported.
The 54-year-old took over the post during a handover ceremony at the Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv, known as the vegan capital of the world.
At the ceremony, Kochavi pledged to “dedicate all of my efforts to defending the homeland.”
“Now, as the head of the General Staff, while I have national security and the good of the state before me, I make a new vow. There is much work to be done, good luck to us all,” he said.
Kochavi is thought to be the Israel military’s first vegan or even vegetarian chief of staff. But plant-powered members of the military are not unheard of; the Israel Defense Force (IDF) is the most vegan army in the world. In three years, the number of members on an animal-free diet has increased by 1,900 percent.
In April 2017, the IDF announced that it would update its menus to cater to the influx of vegan soldiers, saying it would supply 50,000 plant-based combat rations.
Israel’s interest in veganism is not limited to members of the military. Data suggests Israel has the largest percentage of vegans per capita in the world. Speaking about the surging popularity of the cruelty-free movement, PETA Asia said that Israel “is a leader in the switch to vegan eating: plant-based restaurants are thriving and easily accessible to the one million Israelis – out of a population of eight million – who don’t eat meat.”
Other militaries around the world are acknowledging the shift in consumer behaviour as more choose to eschew animal products for health, environmental, or ethical reasons. Finland’s army announced its defense force would serve up two vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner every week in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The meals feature high-carb plant ingredients like potatoes and pasta as well as protein from vegan and vegetarian meat brand Quorn.
Image Credit: Jewish Press
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