So many times people use to hear in the news about the issues between Arabs and Jews. So, when Arabs and Jews decided to unite in order to march together for veganism and animal rights it was clear that this was going to be an extraordinary event. Their voice for the voiceless animals was supposed to arrest attention for the incredible suffering of farm animals and to support a vegan lifestyle. And while Arabs and Jews usually use to deal with religious issues and other problems this march sent a strong signal that when it comes to the abuse of animals they were well able to forget about their disputes and to stand in together for the abolition of the cruel treatment of factory farmers.
Last Friday, more than 1,000 animal rights activists marched together for veganism in the city of Haifa, Israel, 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, where vegan activists have been working together over the last couple of years.
The march, to which 2,500 people originally RSVP-ed, 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.
Interview with two of the organizers of the Jewish-Arab march
The Vegan Woman had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing two of the event’s organizers — 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”. Here is what they had to say about this fruitful Jewish-Arab collaboration around veganism and animal rights:
Sharbel and Shlomi, first of all congratulations on a successful event. I’m sure you know that this collaboration inspires others around the world and gives many of us hope, both for veganism and for future peaceful collaborations.
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; some of them led to the successful march which took place last Friday, among other blessed collaborations.”
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.”
Read the full article at theveganwoman.com!