There have always been differences of opinion in the Eida Chareidit as well as different factions, with some favoring the moderate approach synonymous with the respectful Yerushalmi chossid while others prefer extremism. Events during recent months have left the Eida with a tainted image in the eyes of many, and today, Shmuel Poppenheim, who oversees the operations of Badatz Eida Chareidit is concerned, for the changing winds are working against the Eida, which may have a negative impact on the profitable kashrus agency.
Mordechai Davidowitz writes in the Weekly Hebrew Mishpacha Magazine that one thing is for certain, and one must understand this, that Gavaad HaRav HaGaon Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss Shlita is the final word, and his decision is what dictates Eida policy.
The split in the Eida is becoming increasingly apparent to all, and events during recent months signal the growing stronghold of the militants, the zealots who are unwilling to accept yesterday’s moderate approach, confident in their extremist path. Peppenheim is working to signal the badatz’s neutrality and uninvolvement in the politics that continue to place the Eida in the banner headlines of the nation’s newspapers and mainstream electronic media. He is trying to distance the kashrus from the political Eida that is the focus of daily news reports, reports that surround attacks against young girls, spitting at women, the wearing of concentration camp uniforms and yellow stars, and investigating allegations of tax fraud and money laundering.
There has already by a campaign spearheaded by secularists against the Eida, stressing that buying Eida hashgacha products simply fuels the fire of those who seek to topple the secular state. Today, this is once again heard, more than a whisper, signaling Peppenheim that his concern is not unfounded. Today this is heard among shomer Shabbat people as well, those who observe Torah and mitzvos, but want nothing to do with the Eida’s brand of Yiddishkheit.
The recent announcement by Tzfat’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita launching his Badatz Orot is in line with current political realities, for the rav feels he will provide a kosher supervision that is no less stringent than the Eida, for less money, bringing down prices and permitting those seeking premium kashrus to support a hashgacha that is not committed to the downfall of the State of Israel. The rav working together with Tzfat Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Bistrizky already enjoy a pristine reputation when it comes to kashrus in their city.
Further complicating the Eida’s image is the ongoing investigation by police and tax authorities, alleging money laundering and tax evasion by the Eida-run Vaad Artzi. Prominent members of the Eida hierarchy have already been arrested, and tax inspectors continue to visit the community, making arrests and confiscating documents.
The events in Beit Shemesh surrounding the dati leumi Orot Girl’s School are having widespread ramifications, and from the Eida community, there are now shouts of discrimination against them, accusing the nation of trying to overrun its way of life.
The most recent attack against Natalie Moshiach in Beit Shemesh seems to have catapulted events into a new sphere, and the coming weeks will most likely have an impact on the Eida, possibly its kashrus and other aspects of its operation as well, in a large part dependent on the findings of tax authorities in the Vaad Artzi investigation as well as the zealots, who in recent days have been remaining relatively quiet.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)