“HaRav Shmuel Eliyahu Is Ending His Position Due To Broccoli,” Noam MK Complains

HaRav Shmuel Eliyahu (Screenshot); Broccoli (Photo by Tyrrell Fitness And Nutrition on Unsplash)

Noam MK Avi Maoz complained about the kashrus reforms of Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana from the Knesset plenum on Tuesday, relating a specific example of a kashrus supervision incident that already occurred due to Kahana’s interference.

Kahana announced elections for the municipal Rav of the northern town of Hatzor HaGlilit a number of weeks ago due to the “too strict” kashrus standards of HaRav Shmuel Eliyahu.

The incident began after Hatzor’s Rav, HaRav Mordechai Di’i, z’l, passed away several months ago and the city’s kashrus supervision was transferred to HaRav Shmuel Eliyahu, one of the leading Dati Leumi Rabbanim in Israel and Chief Rabbi of Tzfas, which is only 15 minutes away from Hatzor.

A number of weeks ago, Tzfas kashrus supervisors carried out an inspection of the Pri HaGalil broccoli processing factory and found a high level of insect infestation. HaRav Di’i, z’l, reportedly said in the past that the broccoli is fine (regarding insect infestation) but HaRav Eliyahu determined that since over 50% of the broccoli was infested,he could not grant it a hechsher unless conditions were improved. In the wake of HaRav Eliyahu’s decision, Kahana called for elections for a new Rav of Hatzor.

Kahana’s announcement of new elections, which will remove HaRav Eliyahu from his position [of supervising Hatzor’s kashrus), is an example of what will happen after the kashrus reforms will go into effect, Maoz said.

Noam MK Avi Maoz complains about Kahana’s kashrus reforms in the Knesset. (Knesset Channel)

“This is a prime example of what is going to happen in the state of Israel if, chalilah, Kahana’s dangerous kashrus reforms are implemented,” he said. “A factory that is unsatisfied with the decision of its supervisory body will simply look for another supervisory body that will be more lenient.”

“Kashrus bodies will be business entities with economic interests that will be careful not to make things difficult for business owners in order not to lose their business. This is in contrast to the Rabbanut, which has no interests except for kashrus supervision. There will be no one to take responsibility for kashrus failures to the public. We’re ceding control of the Jewish identity of the state of Israel – its kashrus,” Maoz sadly concluded.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. I have not seen a recent draft of the (evolving) suggested kashrut reform but older versions indicate that it would not be as simple to lower standards as MK Maoz indicates. 1. Not anyone will be authorized to open a private kashrut supervision organization. At least 3 Chief Rabbis of Israeli cities will be required to band together in order to open such an organization. This is a very small and select pool of rabbis and it seems highly improbable that a group of 3 such rabbis would permit trief food. 2. The private organizations would be supervised by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which will also set all kashrut standards. A private organization will only be permitted to deviate from the national kashrut standard set by the Chief Rabbinate if it first informs the Chief Rabbinate of its intention to do so and of the alternate standard that it is setting. In that event the Chief Rabbinate will be able to warn the tzibbur of the deviation and will be able to apply pressure on the private organization (and, specifically, on the 3 city chief rabbis) if it finds the deviation concerning. This is not to say that there are no issues with the proposed kashrut reforms – there are many – but it is not as bad as MK Maoz would have us believe.