Jan 15, 2017

Proposed Law: canceling Rabbanut kashrut

MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) has proposed a law that would change the status of the Rabbanut Kashrut division from that of a monopoly with the only authority to declare a food item as kosher to one of a regulator of other kashrut agencies.

Azaria says this is a situation of a classic monopoly that makes things unnecessarily more difficult for the citizens. And, the third-party kashrut agencies, the various 'Badatzim", all operate without any standing in law. Azaria says there are millions of shekels being passed around unreported, and it is very possible the validity of the kashrut is actually in question.

Azaria explains that a report prepared for the Ministry of Fniance concludes that the kashrut monopoly held by the Rabbanut costs the Israeli economy more than half a billion shekels per year, while in the Haredi community various kashrut organizations operate without really any need for a Rabbanut.

The current kashrut system has many flaws, such as; lack of set standards, lack of transparency in costs and prices, and more. Official comptroller reports have determined that religious councils around the country have operated with conflicts of interest regarding their kashrut authority, they use their power to coerce businesses to register and pay for kashrut certificates they do not need, unreported monies, pressure on restaurant owners to order from specific suppliers (a criminal offense). Restaurants or food establishments that want an alternate hechsher cannot obtain one without continuing to pay the relevant Rabbanut religious council, regardless of any service actually being performed.

So, Azaria is proposing to legalize the private hechsherim that operate in the Haredi community in order to mkae the system more efficient, and the Rabbanut would become a regulatory body. The Rabbanut would appoint people to certify private organizations wishing to give kashrut certification. Halachic criteria would be publicized, and people working for the Rabbanut regulatory system would not be allowed to work for the private kashrut organizations.

This would trun the kashrut certification market into a competitive market and thus lower the affected costs to the consumer.
source: Kipa

Azaria is a member of the coalition, and this is going to have to pass through the Haredi parties who hold a coalition agreement regarding religious issues. This will surely be determined to be a religious issue, rather than just a commercial issue. So, we'll have to see what they say about this. What might help is a recent report that claimed the Rabbanut itself was leaning towards moving in this direction to operate as a regulatory body rather than to continue as the sole authority able to give kashrut certification.

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  1. She's trying to convince the charedim it will work to their advantage, but seems to be ignoring the fact that they have the best of both worlds- they ignore the Rabbanut for their own hechsherim *and* control the Rabbanut. Why should they want to change the system?


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