|Photo by: Chief Rabbinate|
Basher cheese store and restaurant raided by kashrut authority
By JEREMY SHARON
Popular delicatessen sells foreign-made cheeses, which it falsely marked as kosher.
The Basher cheese purveyor in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda, along with its bistro
bar located close by, were both raided by the Chief Rabbinate’s National Unit
for Kashrut Fraud on Sunday morning.
The raid was carried out in
accordance with a search warrant issued by the courts during which several
problems were discovered at the cheese store and it was also found that the
Basher restaurant, located on Agripas st.
in Jerusalem, displayed a
kashrut certificate from an unauthorized kashrut licensing
Basher is a popular delicatessen that sells a large variety
of foreign-made, mostly European, cheeses that it has always insisted were
kosher, although not necessarily from supervised milk.
In a statement to
the press, the Chief Rabbinate said that “dozens of illegal kashrut certificates
for different products were seized,” issued by a kashrut authority “bearing the
name of ‘Rabbi Moshe Alloun, France.’” The rabbinate said that this authority
was investigated by the rabbinate, which concluded that its supervision was
“insufficient to market products in Israel as kosher for various reasons,
including a suspicion that products from unsupervised milk were indicated as
being from supervised milk.”
The rabbinate’s investigators found stickers
at the Mahaneh Yehuda site bearing the stamp of Alloun “in a manner that aroused
suspicion that the stickers were applied to the products by local [Israeli]
staff, and not by supervisors at the assembly lines in
Additionally, the rabbinate said that on some products the
certification bore both the caption “Kosher for Passover” and “Kosher for the
days of the year only.”
“Kosher for the days of the year alone” means
“Not kosher for Passover” in kashrut jargon, and the rabbinate said that the
fact that products bore both labels raised suspicion that the labels were
In addition, the rabbinate said that there was a concern that
products were labeled as being from supervised milk when they were in fact from
Additionally, a kashrut certificate issued by “an
illegal authority” known as Badatz Keter Hachsharot was found in the
Badatz Keter Hachsharot is not an authorized kashrut
supervisory body and the chief rabbinate has pointed to problematic practices
with this body in the past.
There was no kashrut supervisor at the site,
from any authority, and some of the cheeses at the site had no kashrut stamp at
all and no information as to their origin, the rabbinate said.
“This is a
well known business whose activities aroused suspicion and were specifically
directed at the religiously observant community by prominently [displaying]
illegal kashrut signs,” said director of the National Unit for Kashrut Fraud
“Neither the restaurant nor the store in the market have a
kashrut certificate from a legal rabbinate.
Unfortunately, there is a
concern that many members of the public were tricked.
We hope that in
light of the findings, that were revealed in today’s raid, justice will be done
with this company.”
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Alloun said
that despite the fact that the rabbinate said they had investigated his kashrut
certification business, they had never contacted him directly or spoken with
He said that the rabbinate could not know which cheeses were indeed
kosher and which were not without speaking with him, and accused the institution
Alloun said he had been aware in the past that kashrut
certificates for some cheeses were switched but said that he believed this had
been done in error and that he had dealt with the issue.
He also insisted
that there were different standards of supervised milk, and rejected the chief
rabbinate’s assertion that products labeled as from supervised milk were from
In response to the report, Basher said it sold
“hundreds of types of quality cheese from Europe, under the supervision of
different authorities, some of whom are rabbis and rabbinical judges ordained by
The business did not comment on the kashrut certificate
found at its restaurant and bar, but said that it was suffering from attempts by
the rabbinate “to preserve its monopoly in the field of kashrut.”