In its ruling, for the first time, the court permits a business to present its commitment to halacha and kashrus, without calling itself kosher.
The Reform Movement in Israel had filed a petition with the High Court of Justice challenging the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s exclusive monopoly on kashrus.
By a majority of five judges against two, it was determined that a restaurant that does not hold a kosher certificate may not advertise itself as “kosher”, but judges ruled, the restaurant is entitled to present a “declaration of truth ” regarding the standards of kashrus that are maintained meticulously, and the manner of supervising their observance, which also includes an explicit clarification that he does not have a certificate of kashrut.
The outgoing president, Miriam Naor, stated that business owners should be allowed to present a document explaining their strict observance of the kashrut, provided they do not call it a “kosher certificate”: “A shopkeeper can testify about his goods.” There is nothing in the law that teaches that a home cannot present a true representation of the food sold in it.”
This now permits stores to return their local rabbinate certification and simply hang a sign attesting to their commitment to kashrus, perhaps detailing somewhat, and in many cases, consumers will rely on such a document. This also permits private agencies to provide kashrus by displaying such a document in its name.
The minority ruling, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and Noam Solberg were opposed to the declaration instead of local rabbinate certification.
The Reform Movement praised the decision, as did Rabbi Aharon Leibowitz who founded and heads the private hashgacha, “Hashgacha Pratit”, which has been repeatedly fined for operating illegally, providing kashrus supervision to stores which opted to leave the local rabbinate system. This gives his organization the green light to continue their supervision despite Rabbinate opposition.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)