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Will Enemies Stand Together For Animal Rights?

What two issues brought together historic enemies in North Israel?

We continuously hear about the Arab-Jewish Conflicts around the world and especially in Israel.  These two vegan groups, one Arab and the other Jewish, have put their human issues aside to combine efforts and their voices for sentient beings who have no voice of their own.

Israel is quickly becoming a vegan nation as now over 13% of the country is vegan.  The dairy industry is having declining sales and restaurant chains are experiencing over 30% demand for vegan meals.  The vegan communities are helping expose Israeli people to the inhumane and illegal activities in the meat industry, animal rights lectures and positions, and working with restaurants to develop more vegan menu options.

Both groups organizers were interviewed below.  Read through and share what you think. 

more than 1,000 animal rights activists marched together for veganism… under the title “We Are All Their Voice: Coming Together for the Animals”.

Organized by both Arab and Jewish animal rights activists, the march marked a meaningful highlight in a continuous collaboration between the two communities in the north of Israel, … 

The march… had three clear stated goals: to raise public awareness of the suffering of farm animals, to boost vegan activity in the north of Israel, and to create a large-scale event allowing the two communities to come together in full and equal collaboration.

Animal rights activists holding signs in Hebrew and in Arabic at the Arab-Jewish march which took place in Haifa on Juy 24th. Image: @Amit Zinman Photography

Animal rights activists holding signs in Hebrew and in Arabic …


Interview with two of the organizers of the Jewish-Arab march

… Sharbel Balloutine, a leading vegan advocate, author, and the founder of the Arab animal rights organization “The Vegan Human”, and Shlomi Hillel, a prominent vegan animal rights activist and the former leader of “The Vegan North”. …

Two of the organizers of the vegan march "We Are All Their Voice", Sharbel Balloutine (left) and Shlomi Hillel (right). Image courtesy: Left - Sharbel Balloutine. Right - Daniel Bar.

Two of the organizers: Sharbel Balloutine (left) and Shlomi Hillel (right).


Can you perhaps share some information in regards to the Arab-Jewish collaboration that brought about this successful march last Friday?

Shlomi: “Of course. Vegan activism has been in the works in the north of Israel for over 10 years now. In its beginning, it was mostly centered around engagement with the greater public through means such as handouts and information stands. In 2012, we formed a group called “The Vegan North”, and with social media coming into play, it became easier to effectively organize events and reach new potential activists. Our activism grew to include meat-outs, displays, demonstrations, and also social activities.

“In addition to our activities, a large Arab animal rights group, which is known today as ‘The Vegan Human’, started operating in the north of Israel under the inspirational leadership of Sharbel. From the early stages of their activity, a close collaboration was formed between the two groups, which included joint demonstrations in Arab and Jewish towns, and close friendships were formed between the vegan activists of the two groups…”

Jews and Arabs marching together for veganism and animal rights in the city of Haifa as part of the "We Are All Their Voice" march. Image: Omer Shalev.

Jews and Arabs marching together for veganism and animal rights …

Do you find that the differences in religion, cultures, and politics cause tensions throughout your activism? If so, how do you deal with such tensions, and what is the message you are trying to convey?

Sharbel: “We actually experience very little tensions in our joint activities, and when tensions do rise, we make a point of reminding ourselves how important it is for us to come together and focus on helping the most exploited beings on our planet: the animals. ….

If you were to leave our readers with one message, what would that be?

Sharbel: “Every soul taken by violence, violates all humanity.”

Shlomi: “There is no justification for animal exploitation. If you believe that killing and inflicting unnecessary suffering is wrong, then you, too, should go vegan.”


Source for the full interview.

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