For those of you who are familiar with the Machane Yehuda area, then you are undoubtedly familiar with Eli Falafel, a well-known falafel shwarma store in the area.
The store has two supervisions, one from the Jerusalem Rabbinate (regular) and mehadrin from the Belz Badatz Machzikei Hadat kashrut agency.
To date, I have not written about the store since I know it to be reliable, as is confirmed in an interview with Eli, the store owner, as carried in Hebrew by Chadrei Chareidim.
I have seen a number of mashgichim in the store daily, and Eli explains the folks at Belz are quite serious, as I have seen in other shwarma stores under the same hechsher, with Maoz Falafel on King George being a good example [as I have reported in the past].
Anyway, the mashgiach arrives in the morning and lights the gas, checks the beans and does a general look-around. Later in the day a second inspection occurs, and a third even later in the day. The store is open until midnight or later on most days.
The point of this article (which prompted the Chadrei Chareidim piece) is the Jerusalem Rabbinate certificate, which says “parve”. I have noticed it too but for whatever reason, never paid much attention since anyone buying in a meat store realize the products are meat or at the very least “chezkat basari”, not to be eaten with dairy products. That in addition to the fact the Belz certificate says falafel is ‘chezkat basari’ and the shwarma is meat.
Anyway, in the interview, Eli has harsh words for the Jerusalem Rabbinate, explaining he maintains the hechsher because the law requires he does, stating in the past years, he never really had a mashgiach who performed his duties in a responsible fashion, usually just passing by and waving, nothing more.
I did not contact the Jerusalem Rabbinate on this one, nor do I plan to do so, but the response quoted by Chadrei Chareidim states the Rabbanut is aware of the reality and the fact that the mashgiach does not enter is not a problem since there is an agreement with other kashrut agencies, in this case Belz, and they are aware that the store is indeed supervised daily.
The point, make of it as you wish but realize the store is not parve.