Something Isn’t Kosher

Only third of Israel’s restaurants are kosher

Several restaurants listed as non-kosher in fact serve food made from kosher ingredients only

By Ofer Petersburg, YNet News, January 29, 2007

Although Israel is the state of the Jewish people, its restaurants are predominantly non-kosher. Comprehensive research carried out by the Mapa Internet site, a destination directory, found that only a third of the food industry in Israel is kosher.

According to the survey, some 4,399 food businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants and fast food eateries operate in Israel. Of the overall number of restaurants only 1,539 carry a kosher license as opposed to 2,830 that are non-kosher.
According to the editors of Mapa, the division made by the site was made according to a single criterion: Whether the restaurants carry a kosher license or not. Editors noted that some of the restaurants listed as non-kosher in fact serve food made from kosher ingredients only and do not mix meat and dairy products.

Despite this, these restaurants are not listed as kosher because they have not been issued a kosher license.

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, the city of restaurants, or to be more exact the city of non-kosher restaurants, has no less than 1,599 restaurants throughout the city of which 1,093 are non-kosher – namely some 68 percent of Tel Aviv restaurants are non-kosher.

Only 506 of Tel Aviv’s food businesses carry a kosher license. The most popular restaurants in the Tel Aviv metropolitan, according to the research, showed that the café culture reigns supreme with no less than 499 coffee shops. The runners up are oriental cuisines (140), Italian restaurants (122) in third place, and hummus eateries in fourth place.

Sushi restaurants are also becoming popular with 54 Japanese restaurants, while there is still room for cholent and kreplach (36 restaurants offering basic Jewish food).


Jerusalem, as may be expected, is the opposite to Tel Aviv. There are 437 restaurants throughout the capital of which 143 are non-kosher while 284 carry a kosher certificate. The percentage of kosher restaurants reaches 67 percent. Even in the capital of the Negev Be’er Sheva there are more kosher restaurants than non-kosher ones – 40 restaurants as opposed to 37.


In Haifa the percentage of kosher restaurants is smaller than in other large Israeli cities, only 55 restaurants out of 294 carry a kosher certificate which constitutes just 18 percent.


In Eilat, 42 of the 104 restaurants are kosher (some 40 percent). It should be noted that the restaurants located within the city’s hotels are all kosher which adds to the relative dominance of kosher restaurants in Eilat.

And what are the Israelis’ favorite restaurants? As in Tel Aviv, the coffee culture rules throughout the country with 1,449 coffee shops. Israel has 383 fish restaurants and 311 hamburger fast food eateries. The Italian restaurants and the hummus outlets are waging a close war – with 234:239 in favor of pasta.

Thai food enthusiasts can enjoy 91 Thai restaurants throughout the country. On the other hand, organic food lovers will be forced to make more of an effort to find a restaurant as there are only seven such restaurants throughout the country.


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