United Nations General Assembly in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK - The United Nation headquarters has began serving kosher food in its cafeterias this week, for the first time in history.
The announcement comes after Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon made a push for it in September in order to “ensure that the parliament of nations be open and respectful to the traditions of the Jewish people.”
Ambassador Danon had sent a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he explained that many UN employees and diplomats observe kosher dietary restrictions, yet kosher food is not available in any of the cafeterias or restaurants inside the UN. Food honoring other dietary restrictions however, such Halal and vegetarian was served.
“For many Jews around the world, eating kosher food is a fundamental aspect of religious practice,” he wrote. “We believe that all citizens of the world should feel welcome in the UN.”
In his letter, Danon also requested that the Secretary General act to lower the high cost of kosher catering in the UN. According to him, when catering official events, the Israeli Mission, which only orders kosher food, is limited to working with one approved supplier and is forced to pay 40% more than other missions who have a wider choice of caterers.
By allowing additional kosher caterers to work within the organization’s headquarters, the UN would enable competition and lowering of costs, the Ambassador argued.
“We continue to walk with our heads held high in the UN. Judaism should be respected at the UN, just like all faiths are,” Danon said on Monday.
Danon’s latest achievement comes as part of a series of pushes he has made for the UN to recognize Jewish traditions, some of which were successful.
Earlier this year, Yom Kippur was recognized as an official UN holiday and UN ambassadors also held the first Passover seder in the halls of the international body.