The national-religious rabbinical association Tzohar 370.
(photo credit: Yossi Zliger)
In a blow to Tzohar, a ruling by the Attorney-General’s Office means that the organization will likely not be able to issue its own kashrut certificates for restaurants under its kashrut supervision.
Restaurants and other businesses will still, however, be able to use Tzohar’s kashrut supervision service, produce their own certificates declaring the kashrut standards they follow and state that Tzohar oversees those standards.
The Tzohar rabbinical organization launched its kashrut supervision service earlier this year following a High Court of Justice ruling allowing restaurants and other businesses to declare themselves in writing to follow kashrut standards, paving the way for kashrut supervision independent of the Chief Rabbinate.
Currently, the organization provides the restaurants under its supervision with certificates bearing such information, and includes its logo and the name of its supervision service, Tzohar - Food Inspection, on the document.
The ruling states however that only the business owner can issue the certificates, and that a document provided by the supervising organization itself along with its logo should not be permitted under the High Court ruling.
Although a blow to Tzohar, the organization insisted in response to the decision that it operates “in accordance with the standards set forth in the Supreme Court’s ruling in their entirety.”
It is unclear how Tzohar will respond practically to the attorney-general’s decision.
The chief rabbis, Religious Services Ministry and religious political parties have strongly opposed independent supervision, however, and the ruling comes following legal appeals by the Chief Rabbinate and the ministry to the Attorney-General’s Office.
Tzohar currently has almost 100 restaurants and other establishments which have signed up to its kashrut supervision, the majority of which previously had no such supervision, and says its has many more applications.
In response to the ruling, Tzohar said it would take time to review the full decision but would “continue to work towards our goal to increase the number of kashrut observant consumers and to raise the level of kashrut supervision.”
The Chief Rabbinate warmly welcomed the decision, and argued further that only the business owner and not Tzohar could produce the certificate.