Tel Aviv Basketball Team Goes Vegan

Hapoel Tel Aviv to promote 'healthy vegan lifestyle' in exchange for million-shekel sponsorship deal with vegan nonprofits

Arie Livnat
Arie Livnat
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Hapoel Tel Aviv fans during a playoff game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in May 2022.
Hapoel Tel Aviv fans during a playoff game against Maccabi Tel Aviv in May 2022.Credit: Nir Keidar
Arie Livnat
Arie Livnat

The Hapoel Tel Aviv basketball team has been serving a wide-ranging, expensive and of course delicious menu in the VIP suites at its new Shlomo Group Arena – better known as the Drive In. Starting from next season, however, the team will only be serving vegan fare.

The reason for the culinary change is the team’s new sponsor, the Vegan Friendly nonprofit organization, which promotes a vegan lifestyle. The group will not provide the food itself, but part of what it does is recommend restaurants that do. Hapoel chose to adapt itself to its new sponsor and will serve as an example to its fans.

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Hapoel Tel Aviv is separating from its sponsor for the last 11 years, the Metzer Group, and will receive 1 million shekels (about $300,000) next season from Vegan Friendly. The money was collected from donations from thousands of members of Vegan Active, the activist arm of Vegan Friendly. According to the sponsorship agreement, the two nonprofit groups will promote a healthy lifestyle and the consumption of fewer of animal products, which harm the environment and animals. They are planning on holding a wide range of activities – and the players’ uniforms will carry the “Vegan Friendly” logo. Messages on environmental issues and veganism will appear on the team’s uniforms, the court, screens and the arena throughout the season, as well as at team events.

“The connection between Vegan Friendly and Hapoel Tel Aviv is natural and obvious,” said Omri Paz, the founder and CEO of the group. “Both [Vegan Friendly] and the team are always looking for their next big achievement, to go beyond limits and to make the impossible possible. Vegan Friendly is proud of the cooperation, which will raise the awareness of the vegan lifestyle and reduce animal-product diets for all Israelis, so that together we will be able to create a better future here. We believe that high public awareness of the issue can bring about a change,” added Paz.

Rami Cohen, the chairman of Hapoel Tel Aviv, spoke about the connection between the team and Vegan Friendly: “In both cases, these are nonprofits that were founded out of love, and work constantly to reach new achievements. Hapoel Tel Aviv is delighted by this important cooperation, which wants to bring a better future for all of us.”

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