Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana called a special press conference on Tuesday and announced a series of comprehensive kashrus reforms in Israel.
According to the new reforms, the Rabbanut will no longer grant kashrus certification but will serve as a regulatory body instead. The kashrus market will open to independent kashrus organizations that will issue hechsherim and employ and oversee their own mashgichim.
In general, the Rabbanut will set the standards of the hechsherim but eateries that do not meet the standards of the Rabbanut can receive a hechsher from three Rabbanim who are qualified to serve as municipal Rabbanim, if they approve the restaurant’s standards. This includes eateries that operate on Shabbos.
The reforms, which were drafted with the assistance of Ne’emanei Torah Va’Avodah, a left-wing Religious Zionist organization, still require legislative approval.
The Rabbanut responded to Kahana’s announcement with a fierce and public attack on the new Religious Affairs Minister, saying that his plan is “a dangerous initiative that will destroy kashrus in Israel.”
“The Chief Rabbanut of Israel completely rejects the dangerous initiative of the Religious Affairs Ministry to destroy kashrus in Israel,” a statement from the Rabbanut’s office said. “The plan presented today for changes in the kashrus system means the end of kashrus in the state of Israel with the entrance of a wide-ranging variety of organizations with business interests that will grant hechsherim and the ability of every ‘macher’ to grant a kashrus certificate. The result will be the complete destruction and churban of kashrus.”
“This is part of a general trend of a battle against religious services with the ultimate goal of the abolition of the Jewish identity of the state of Israel.”
“The Rabbanut and all Rabbanim in Israel will work to stop this dangerous initiative. Am Yisrael, the majority of whom are makpid on kashrus k’halacha, vote with their feet and have full faith in the Rabbanut and therefore these dangerous initiatives will be revoked.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)