Elected Officials Trying to Change State Kashrut Law

8 Kislev 5771
November 15, 2010

chief-rabbinate-of-israel1The left-wing Meretz Party has put forward a bill in Knesset seeking to remove the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s control over kashrut, seeking to grant the authority to issue kashrut certificates to the Knesset.

The members of Knesset of the Meretz Party feel that the time is right to push for such a change, insisting a kashrut certificate must be granted to any kosher establishment, even if the restaurant operates on Shabbat – insisting a restaurant can indeed be kosher despite violating the Sabbath.

Lawmakers are resting heavily on a case in which the secular courts have compelled the Chief Rabbinate to issue a kashrut certificate to an Ashdod bakery owned by a Messianic Jewess, seeking to use that case and a growing anti-religious momentum to amend the state’s 1983 kosher law.

Meretz maintains that because Penina Conforti is a Messianic Jew, the Rabbinate yanked her kosher certificate and this is unacceptable.

The Chief Rabbinate maintained all along that there is no problem granting kosher certification to Conforti’s stores, but because of her religious realities, halacha demands the constant presence of a mashgiach. Proponents of Conforti shouted discrimination, pointing out other stores with a regular non-mehadrin Rabbinate hechsher are not compelled to maintain a constant presence of a kosher inspector (mashgiach).


  • Jew not Israeli
    November 15, 2010 - 16:00 | Permalink

    Is she a Jew al pi halacha or is she an apikores? If the rabbonim gave her a din apikores then she is like a non-Jew in every respect, perhaps with even more chumras. Then the restaurant would need a mashgiach tmidi and there would be problems of pas akum, bishul akum, etc. and she would be metaref wine and grape juice by maga. Basically, the only way for her to run a restaurant without possling all the food and drinks would be for her to hire Jews to work there and for her never to come on premises or certainly in the kitchen and food prep areas. Of course no Jew would knowingly work for an apikores, but Israelis certainly would. I’m surprised nobody suggested this solution. I am not sure why this scenario wouldn’t be acceptable, she could stil sit in the dining area and hand out pamphlets to her heart’s content r”l.

    Aside from the absurdity of a Knesset which can’t even deal with the affairs it’s supposed to deal with, ruling on kashrus or interfering with the rabbanut it is nonsensical to suggest MK’s are qualified to rule on kashrus. What chutzpah! But if you think about the reality that most Israelis can’t tell you the difference between a Jew and an Israeli lehavdil and think Judaism was created in 1948 by the zionists it does make some twisted sort of sense.

    It is saddening to see the ongoing destruction of Jewishness and the nefarious methods the Israeli government and its cabinet members and ministers employ with unrelenting energy to wipe out Jews from Israel. If we object, they will deport us to Brooklyn, “where we came from”. Not that the Chief Rabbanut is acceptable from any perspective, but at least with that there is a sense of government being divided somewhat along sensible lines the public can relate to. If the rabbanut has no autonomy to deal with kashrus issues and increasingly sits with hands tied by MKs and leftist activist courts that allow (demand) the legitimacy of non-Jewish marriages then the rabbanut will become as powerless and irrelevant as Netanyahu and the rest of the government.


  • November 16, 2010 - 08:54 | Permalink

    Well, just as the Reform Movement uses its Diaspora strength on conversion issues, I trust that the OU, YI and all the further to the right groups use their power. Maybe even Eretz-Yisrael will also benefit from a possible new united front on issues.

  • ben Waxman
    November 16, 2010 - 09:23 | Permalink

    i have an even better idea – remove the entire business of granting kashrut certificates from the state, at least in regards to the private sector. the rabbinate can certify government institutions and the army rabbinate can take care of zahal, but private kashrut agencies should be the ones handling the private sector. that way the supreme court will have absolutely nothing to say about kashrut, everyone can go by the agency of his choice, kashrut blogs like this one can rate the various agencies, the government will be able to save money, in short, everyone is a winner.

  • David
    November 16, 2010 - 09:53 | Permalink

    So according to ben Waxman, the unauthorized agencies can go about their business as usual, and we would not even be allowed to call them unauthorized!

    So how will we know whether an establishment, with a certificate on the wall, really is kosher?

    In the current system, we can be ensured of certain basic kashrut standards (and if we want higher standards that is a personal choice).

    Of course, government legislation has no right to try and compromise on those standards. I doubt that the knesset bill proposal will get very far.

  • Reuven Mandel
    November 16, 2010 - 14:01 | Permalink

    I have to respond to Jew not Israeli as I think his comments are absurd and unfortunately lead to the grievous sin (or at the least, ingratitude) of Klal Yisroel remaining in Chul.
    His argument isn’t anything new. It’s always easier to critisize when you’re sitting comfortably on a couch in NY or whatever other Christian state you may reside in. And, sadly enough, this attitude by many of our leaders led to klal yisroel not leaving Europe to either the goldiner medina (the USA, although the term looks sillier every day) or to Eretz Yisroel.
    While I don’t know where you live, it is the mentality of separating yourself from am yisroel that has led to these problems.
    Instead of whining about Israel, how about you get up, stop proudly separating yourself from “Israel” and work to improve matters.

    Kol tuv

  • Sarah Leah
    November 16, 2010 - 16:37 | Permalink

    Leave the secular sector out of government entirely, make our Nation Torah oriented 100%. Rabbis of less the than the utmost stringent should never be able to give kashrus approval to anything a Jew might eat, regardless if that Jew is observant or not. Nothing less than Eidah-level supervision should be acceptable.

    The Communist Party should have NO SAY WHATSOEVER in what we eat – including who should supervise. One of their goals is to continue the work of the “zionist state” – which is to eliminate Torah from our lives, c’v.

  • Shy Guy
    November 16, 2010 - 16:41 | Permalink

    David, how have people kept kosher in Jewish communities around world?

    How have people who don’t rely on the Rabbinate in general, know what’s reliable or not?

    But whether or not the Rabbinate stays or goes, there should be strict kashrut consumer fraud legislation enacted.

  • Israel
    November 16, 2010 - 17:35 | Permalink

    What ben Waxman is suggesting is pretty much the way it works now if you consider having to get a rabbanut hechsher just another tax and not hashgacha. It’s well-known in the frum community which kashrus agencies are reliable and which are not. No other country I’m aware of has government interference in kashrus agencies and it works fine.

    In fact the courts don’t have anything to say about kashrus, they can just dictate to the rabbanut what to do and say (which is one of the many reasons nobody who thinks it through and does the math holds by the rabbanut), but that doesn’t have much practical effect. If you’re careful to eat only good hechsherim, the whole government/courts/activism issue is pretty much academic.

  • Ben Waxman
    November 16, 2010 - 22:11 | Permalink

    @Sarah Leah

    Are you serious? Why in the world should i be not be able to purchase what I want simply because the “strictest” kashrut agencies won’t certify it?

  • Ben Waxman
    November 16, 2010 - 22:14 | Permalink

    Israel is essentially correct, but possibly not in the way he means. The courts DO NOT get involved in kashrut. They get involved in matters dealing with procedures. Take for example the huge case that came up last shmittah. The court did not in anyway say that the heter michirah is kosher. It said that the rabbinate did not follow proper procedure when it tried to kill the HM.

    Again, privatize this issue and the courts won’t get involved.

  • Schmuel
    November 21, 2010 - 04:25 | Permalink

    Here we go again… Obviously the kashrut laws are really suggestions. Case in point; if it can be changed it is NOT G-D given but man invented. The Rabbis are delusional.

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