Nov 23, 2016

Rabbanut monopoly strikes again

According to The Times of Israel, there are two importers of Jack Daniel's whiskey, and the two are both importing the whiskey from the same factory abroad.

The importer Paneco, who sells the whiskey at a cheaper price than the other, official, importer (119nis to 149nis), has had its kosher certificate for the product revoked by the Rabbanut. They have appealed to the Supreme Court claiming that the revocation is based on nothing but business issues that the Rabbanut as a monopoly can enforce, rather than any kashrut or religious issues.

Paneco points to the fact that they are importing the same exact whiskey from the same exact factory as the other, yet they lost their certification for the product while the other did not. the only difference between the two is the higher price charged by the other importer. Paneco claims that the Rabbanut is using its monopoly strength to force them out of the business and only allow the importer with the higher prices, and therefore higher profits, so that their people can earn more money. Paneco says that the Rabbanut is using its certification as a tool to affect the markets and drive up prices.
source: Times of Israel

The article does not bring a response from the Rabbanut, which is a shame and therefore the article seems incomplete.

As well, the article claims that by law no food product can be imported into Israel without the approval of the Rabbinate. I do not know if this is true or not, but there are plenty of food items on the shelves of various supermarkets and makolets that are imported with no certification from the Israeli Rabbinate. There are some items that are kosher but are imported without the Rabbanut certification, and there are many food items that are not kosher at all that get imported as well, obviously not through the Rabbanut. So, I don't know if that statement in the article is accurate or not. It is possible all those other importers bringing in food without the Rabbanut's approval are breaking the law, though it is such a large magnitude I find that difficult to believe.

Either way, if it is correct that the Rabbanut is just flexing muscle for financial reasons rather than kashrut reasons, it is another example of why their monopoly on kashrut needs to be broken. The Rabbanut's concerns should only be kashrut, and not financial benefits for specific importers. Monopolies are bad for everybody except for the monopoly holder.

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  1. sorry, but the story does not make any sense. without getting a reply from the rabanut, do you really believe that the rabanut revoked their kashrus just so they can charge more money for the whiskey?? something is definitely missing.
    also - you CAN import non-kosher products to israel, but (as with any product) you need an ishur from the rabanut to advertise it as kosher.

  2. I agree. Something doesn't make sense.

    In any case, most UNFLAVORED bourbons are OK even with certification. See here,_Liquor_and_Liqueur


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