Let's keep it kosher
Hiddush gets to the root problem in the Ministry of Religious Services's alleged "Kashrut Revolution"
Hiddush VP Shahar Ilan voices his concern over reforms that the Ministry of Religious Services proposed for Israel's kosher supervision and certification business.
(L-R) Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett, and Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau at the kosher reforms press conference. picture: Ministry of Religious Services
Hiddush-Freedom of Religion for Israel expressed concern and doubt over the long-term effectiveness and relevance of the Ministry of Religious Services's new plans for kosher certification and supervision. Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett announced that the Ministry would implement a new kosher certification system, using Stars of David to correspond to the strictness of kosher guidelines used in preparing the food.
Restaurants will no longer pay the kosher supervisors themselves (the current practice which is often criticized over many reports of corruption and conflicts of interest), but restaurant owners will pay agencies run by the local religious councils.
Hiddush Vice President for Research and Information Shahar Ilan commented on the Ministry of Religious Services's latest activity. "This isn't a Kashrut revolution, rather a setback. Instead of getting involved in supervising and regulating kosher certification, the Israeli government intends on employing tens of thousands of additional supervisors. Instead of ending the Chief Rabbinate's monopoly on kosher certification and supervision, which so effectively distances Israelis from Judaism, the State of Israel is strengthening the outdated religious establishment. Instead of encouraging a free market for kosher supervision to include secular, Reform, and Conservative kashrut options, and allowing each person to eat kosher food according to their beliefs, the government chooses to support zealotry. "
You don’t need to be a prophet to foresee that the backwards revolution will not only not solve the claims of disorder and unkosher deals made in the kosher supervision business today.
The reforms were also initiated by the Deputy Minister of Religious Services Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan and supported the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau. Rabbi Lau claims these changes will create more transparency in the kosher supervision business.
Deputy Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, said that these initiatives aim "to return the public's trust in kashrut, to regularize work relations, detach foreign interests, and to upgrade the kashrut array with new and transparent technology."
According to Ilan, "You don’t need to be a prophet to foresee that the backwards revolution will not solve the claims of disorder and unkosher deals made in the kosher supervision business today. The current kosher fiasco will most likely cause more headlines and negative attention in the news and disgrace Judaism even further."