JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Israel’s Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana announced a dramatic reform in the kashrus field, in which the Israeli Chief Rabbinate will cease to give kashrus certificates and instead private bodies will be authorized to give certification. The members of the Rabbinical Council will still be responsible for establishing standards, but three rabbis with the qualifications of a “city rabbi” will be entitled to give certification even in contrast to the rabbinate’s opposition.
According to the reform, the certification and supervising will be under the auspices of private organizations and each organization will appoint a rabbi who is accepted by the rabbinate. There will be no requirement for supervision by the Chief Rabbinate if there is already an individual kashrus certificate provided by an organization. The supervisors will be employed by the kashrus organizations.
Kahane’s reform would allow even restaurants open on Shabbos to request kashrus supervision and if three rabbis with city-rabbi qualifications certify them, they will have a kashrus certificate.
Kahane’s initiative aroused immediate opposition both from the chief rabbis and from chareidi knesset members. The Rabbinical Council published a sharp response, stating that “the Chief Rabbinate categorically rejects the dangerous initiative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to destroy religious services in Israel. The program presented today for changes in the kashrus framework is a destruction of kashrus in the state of Israel by opening a bazaar of different kashrus companies with a vested business interest and allowing them to certify kashrus.
The rabbinate pledged to fight the “dangerous initiative” and said that most Israelis rely on the chief rabbinate’s kashrus which is in accordance with halacha.
Shas leader Aryeh Deri said that “today the mask was removed from the Bennett-Kahane-Kariv government [a reference to reform leader Gilad Kariv who is a member of the government]. The kashrus reform is aimed at destroying the Jewish identity of the state and making it a ‘state of all its citizens.
“There is unfortunately no doubt that the main goal is to recognize reform kashrus bodies. There is no economic rationale in the process but rather a will to destroy and ruin. We will vigorously oppose this process which harms most of the traditional citizens of Israel who keep kashrus.”
MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) stressed that the Bennett government had pledged to block any anti-religious initiatives from Liberman and Lapid but “all this was lies and deceit. Not only is Yamina not stopping Liberman’s caprices, Matan Kahane is an active partner in the destruction of religious and holy frameworks, something which wasn’t done for decades.
“This reformist government has no red lines. We will act in every possible way to change it and prevent the continued destructive attacks on the Jewish aspects of the state.”