The Greek Supreme Court outlawed shechita on Wednesday, a move predicted by Jewish leaders following the ruling of the European Union’s court last year upholding similar bans.
Last December, the European Court of Justice ruled that member countries are permitted to ban shechita for the sake of animal welfare without infringing on the rights of religious groups.
The Greek ruling was in response to a petition filed by the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation.
“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, which is based in Brussels. “Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.”
“These direct attacks are coming from many of the same governments and institutions who have sworn to protect their Jewish Communities. What we are witnessing is rank hypocrisy. When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our faith and practice is assailed left and right by laws, they are nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be found. What use is it to protect Jews while legislating fundamental pillars of our religion out of existence?”
“We will be urgently making representations to the highest levels of the Greek government to get direct answers to this simple but fundamental question: How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing laws against us?”
In the opinion of the Greek court, “there should be ways” to satisfy animal rights activists and the religious needs of Jews and Muslims.
“The government should regulate the issue of slaughtering animals in the context of worship in such a way as to ensure both the protection of animals from any inconvenience during slaughter and the religious freedom of religious Muslims and Jews living in Greece,” the court stated.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)