Is Israel headed for ‘kashrut revolution’ or massive food fight?

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Illustrative: Food in Israel. (File).

The Chief Rabbinate slams Religious Affairs Minister’s two-tiered kashrut proposal.

Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana is introducing what he calls a “kashrut revolution” aimed to lower prices for consumers and regulate independent organizations that provide kosher certification.

But the Chief Rabbinate is pushing back at the idea, saying the ministry’s initiative will “destroy the concept of Kashrut.”

Kahana unveiled his two-tiered initiative at a press conference on Tuesday. According to the reforms, the Chief Rabbinate would set national kashrut standards, regulate independent kashrut organizations and assess compliance of those organizations.

The Yemina cabinet minister said giving businesses more choice in which kashrut certification they want would increase competition and lower prices.

Kahana said that in many cases, businesses that offer catering services often pay certification fees to both the rabbinate and the private certifying organization, which ultimately drives up costs for consumers.

Much of the controversy centers on Kahana’s second level of kosher supervision.

Kahana also proposed a lower tier of kashrut in which independent certifying organizations provide a lower standard than the Chief Rabbinate’s.

Those organizations, Kahana said, would first need permission from three municipal rabbis recognized by the Chief Rabbinate to operate. This lower-level kashrut could also provide certification for businesses that operate on Shabbat.

These businesses would be allowed to advertise themselves as kosher despite not meeting the Chief Rabbinate’s standards.

The Chief Rabbinate blasted the initiative. “The Chief Rabbinate of Israel completely rejects this dangerous initiative of the Ministry of Religious Affairs to destroy the concept of Kashrut,” it said in a statement.

“The plan presented today will allow any businessman to buy and sell Kashrut on an open market according to personal or corporate interests, with the end result being the end of proper Kashrut supervision.”

“This is part of an ongoing trend of moves against the religious identity of the State of Israel. The Chief Rabbinate, as well as all the Rabbis of Israel, will stand together and take firm action to put a stop to these moves.”

(World Israel News).

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