There was recently an uproar in Israel pertaining to the Barkan Winery pertaining to the Badatz Eida Chareidis. The hashgacha removed Ethiopian employees from certain “sensitive areas” of the wine production, explaining there are Yidden who cast a doubt on their Jewishness, and since the Eida wishes to be machmir, they were ordered moved to different tasks.
While the matter was reportedly addressed, it appears it is not over, and it is once again in the headlines.
An agreement was reached by which the Ethiopian workers agreed not to be connected to wine production and distribution of wine products under the hashgacha of the Eida Chareidis until the end of the month of Elul. However, it is now revealed that in the final document, with agreement of the Histadrut National Labor Federation, but behind the backs of the workers, one paragraph of the draft agreement was omitted. The paragraph stated the winery would not use a hashgacha that required the removal of the Ethiopian employees from their positions.
One of the workers said after the removal of the clause that he felt that they were stepping on the wound and said that “I am about to collapse. I am not considered a kosher Jew.”
Barkan Wineries said in response to the publication: “There is no discrimination between Barkan employees, and the company has announced its position to all the hechsherim, including Badatz [Eida Chareidis]. There were talks with the Histadrut and the workers in order to allow the production of merchandise that was manufactured under the Eida Chareidis, and the company rejected all the offers it received. The merchandise will be destroyed. There is no more badatz hechsher and no worker has been moved or removed from his position”.
The Histadrut said in response: “Goods that have already been manufactured will be produced with the workers’ consent, and it will be clear that there will be no discrimination and the Histadrut will insist on that.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)