This week the Israeli Supreme Court decided that a food establishment can claim it has ‘supervision’ even if it has no Kashrut certification whatsoever. Very cleverly, they are forbidden to use the word ‘Kosher’ which belongs to the rabbinate (until further notice) but they can use any other word they see fit to mislead the public with.
Chief Rabbi David Lau who is also the president of the Israel Rabbinical Council says this is a big stumbling-block since people coming to restaurants won’t be aware of the difference between ‘kosher’ and ‘supervised’ and will be misled to believe ‘supervised’ means kosher supervision as it has meant until now.
Yesterday (Thursday) Rabbi Lau called on the religious parties to pass legislation to prevent these situations. Rabbi Lau wrote: “Though in essence the sole authority for Kashrut certification is the Rabbinate, however the Court added something that uproots that authority altogether. If we would deal with legal fraud this would be Exhibit A: How is it possible to have one authority responsible for kashrut when on the other hand anyone can claim his establishment is ‘supervised’ and is assumed to be telling the truth in spite of conflicting financial interests. If this is the case, what meaning is there to the fact the Rabbinate is responsible? Just because the word ‘kosher’ is missing? This decision is clearly an opening for fraud. With this decision, more than the court shows its dealings with law and rights .it shows the true face of those presiding there.”
Rabbi Lau continues: “The secular court has no authority or knowledge to judge on kashrut matters. For illustration purposes: Is it at all acceptable that a restaurant in the triangle region (of Arab villages) will have its proprietor claim that all his materials are kosher and he keeps the highest standards? Can anyone stop him from making such a claim? What are the boundaries of supervision; who supervises and how?”
Rabbi Lau turns to the religious party heads and stresses: “It’s our obligation to change this decision for the public will be misled… to protect the pure table and prevent large scale fraud I turn to you to work with all your might to change these laws to stop the decision that harms the public that keeps kosher and tradition, the citizens of Israel.