Kashrut standardization bill faces criticism by reformers

May 17, 2016 21:53
1 minute read.

Bayit Yehudi MK Betzalel Smotrich has proposed legislation to establish a unified standard for kashrut licensing across the country. His bill is scheduled for debate in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday.

The bill is supported by Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau. Opponents, however, argue that the draft legislation would increase the power of the Chief Rabbinate and perpetuate the current system’s conflicts of interest.

Smotrich pointed out that the Council of the Chief Rabbinate is not authorized to issue unified guidelines for kashrut standards which rabbis who issue kashrut licenses would abide by.

He also noted a case from 2006 in which the High Court of Justice wrote that the Council of the Chief Rabbinate should clarify what those standards are.

Smotrich argued that the lack of unified standards has led to differences in the approach taken by rabbis authorized to give kashrut licenses, and the non-standardized regulations currently in existence.

“This has created difficulties for manufacturers that market their products on a regional or national platform, and for food chains that operate on a national basis and sometimes encounter problems due to the lack of unity regarding the kashrut requirements of different local rabbis,” explained Smotrich.

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