High costs and damage to businesses resulting from the Israeli rabbinate’s kosher certification monopoly were debated this week by the Knesset Economics Committee, Menachem Rephun reports for JP Updates.
One participant, Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, complained that the kashrus industry is pushing Jews away from Jewish tradition. Stern accused Kashrus supervisors of hypocrisy for enforcing prohibitions on food which they themselves do not practice.
“You can’t count on the chief rabbinate’s kosher certification because it is corrupt,” he proclaimed. “We need to set two levels of kashrut — basic and mehadrin (stringent) — and I am certain that everyone will fall in line on this.”
Rachel Azaria, a Kulanu MK, noted miscarriages of justice resulting from requiring the rabbinate’s supervisions, such as a vendor being fined 2,000 NIS for lacking the rabbinate’s certification, despite having “Badatz” certification, which is even more stringent. Azaria pointed out that the unfortunate vendor’s fine was bumped up to 4,000 after he appealed, and that the kashrus monopoly costs almost $160 million per year.
“The cost of the rabbinate’s kashrut to the market is NIS 2.8 billion a year,” Azaria said. “So if every product has three certifications, the costs are much higher, for no reason, and this is a burden on the Israeli public.”