In Israel’s Negev desert, there is a community of people called the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem who live a vegan lifestyle.
Based in Dimona, the community does not eat meat, eggs, dairy or any animal products, and they also tend to stay away from chemically processed foods, consuming an almost entirely whole foods, plant-based diet.
“We understand that in order to maintain a lengthy, healthy, optimal, vital lifestyle, we would only be able to put noble foods in our bodies,” one resident told travel vlogger Nuseir Yassin.
The group, who refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol, only eat raw vegan food at least four weeks a year, only consume salt every other day, and also avoid consuming sugar four weeks each year.
Members of the community exercise several times per week and must receive at least one massage per month.
The African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem are mostly descendants of African Americans, who immigrated to Israel in the 1960s, led by the late Ben Carter, founder of the movement.
The spiritual group follows what is often referred to as the “Garden of Eden” diet, a plant-based diet based on the interpretation that a particular scripture in Genesis shows God’s original intent was for humans to consume plants.
The scripture, Genesis 1:29, reads: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.”
Today, there are over 5,000 African Hebrew Israelites, according to Breaking Israel News.
And although a vegan diet cannot deliver immortality, as the African Hebrew Israelites believe, there is plenty of evidence that suggests a plant-based diet reduces the risk of most major chronic diseases.
While a vegan village isn’t very common in most parts of the globe, In Israel, the African Hebrew Israelites are not the only ones with a meat-free village.
Over 600 kilometers above sea level lies Amirim, Israel, a moshav (settlement or town) that has been called the world’s first vegetarian village.
Amirim was established in 1958 by nature-loving, health-conscious vegetarian and vegan settlers looking for a place to bring up their families in a manner that aligns with their values.
The settlers of Amirim wanted a place where no animals would be killed and they could eat fresh, organic produce.
Today, Amirim has over 800 residents, barbecues are banned and there is no meat anywhere in sight.
Unlike the African Hebrew Israelites, the residents in Amirim don’t share a common religion, but they do share a common lifestyle that excludes the consumption of meat.
In 1985, Amirim became the first village to be classified as a “rural tourist village” by the Tourist Ministry, which led to a lot more people taking interest in touring the tiny community.
For those who may be interested in a visit, the community now has a number of guesthouses, museums, spas, vineyards and restaurants (all meat free, of course).