Jerusalem Rabbinate not approving McDonald's 'Blue Arches'

Color change meant to signify which branches are kosher.

mcdonalds 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
mcdonalds 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The burgers may be kosher, but the name is not. The Jerusalem Rabbinate is withholding a kosher certification for a new McDonald's branch that opened in Jerusalem due to a long-running feud with the Israeli franchise owner of the home of the Big Mac. The bitter burger war dates back to the opening a decade ago of McDonald's first branch in the Holy City, whose non-kosher menu sparked weeks of haredi protests in the streets of downtown Jerusalem. Now, in an effort to attain kosher certification for its newly opened branch in the city's Ramat Beit Hakerem neighborhood, the fast-food chain has offered to change the color on the outside of its kosher branches adorning the golden arches from red to blue in line with a compromise recently worked out with Tel Aviv chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau. But the Jerusalem Rabbinate, still smarting over the cheeseburgers being sold at the fast food chain's flagship Jerusalem outlet, has conditioned any kashrut certification for the Jerusalem Big Macs on all the McDonald's branches in the city becoming kosher, a demand rebuffed by the local franchise owner as an absolute non-starter. The head of the kashrut division at the Jerusalem Rabbinical Council Rabbi Yitzhak Iluvski said Thursday that the issue was "under review," adding that a final decision on the request for the kosher certification would be made by the top Rabbinical figures in the coming weeks. He declined to cite why the compromise worked out in Tel Aviv was not kosher enough for Jerusalem. In the meantime, a sign at the newly opened Jerusalem branch informs customers that the food at the eatery, which is closed on Shabbat, is kosher but that the chain has not attained the coveted kashrut certification since it also operates non-kosher branches. McDonald's operates 126 branches throughout the country, 21 of which are kosher.