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Non-Kosher No More: Israel’s Restaurants Shifting to New Kosher Demand

Noor, one of the many restaurants in Israel to turn kosher in the last few months

Since the war in Israel began in early October 2023, there has been a significant increase in the number of previously non-kosher restaurants in Israel transitioning to kosher certification. This is largely attributable to demographic shifts, with a growing population from orthodox and Shabbat-observant backgrounds expressing a strong need for more kosher dining options.

Many of these demographic shifts have been precipitated by the movement of individuals and families from areas around Gaza and the northern border of Israel. As evacuees sought accommodation in cities with a high concentration of hotels and other establishments, the demand for kosher dining options increased. Initially, these changes were meant to accommodate evacuees in hotels, but the trend has persisted and even expanded as these individuals moved to various AirBnB accommodations across the country, further amplifying the demand for kosher-certified dining establishments.

The decision by restaurants, such as NOOR, to switch to kosher not only caters to the needs of these evacuees but also extends to soldiers, particularly in areas like the Golan Heights. Here, a significant number of kosher-observing soldiers, seeking alternatives to the standard army fare, have benefited from the availability of kosher-certified meals provided by local restaurants.

Restaurant owners who have transitioned to kosher operations report a positive return on investment, despite the closure of their establishments on Shabbat. This success is attributed to the patronage of a large segment of the younger, higher-income, kosher-keeping population who enjoy dining out. The expansion of kosher dining options serves this demographic well, offering a wider variety of dining experiences.

The move towards kosher certification, driven by a combination of respect for dietary laws and a strategic business decision, indicates a potential long-term shift in Israel’s restaurant industry. While it is too early to predict the permanence of these changes, the current trend suggests that the kosher dining scene in Israel will continue to grow, driven by demographic demands, business opportunities, and the desire of restaurant owners to cater to a broader segment of the population. Only time will tell if this shift will become a lasting feature of the culinary landscape in Israel.

Additionally, we’re observing many kosher burger chain eateries like McDonald’s, Burgerim, and Burgeranch are becoming Mehadrin to support the IDF soldiers.

Details via: @theisraelifoodie