The haredi Chief Rabbinate of Israel last week withdrew its objections to the establishment of a new agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Religious Affairs that would oversee the activities of the nation’s mashgichim operating under the umbrella of the local rabbinates nationwide. The new government agency is meant to end rabbinic corruption and nepotism that currently plagues the system.
The following is an excerpt of a Yediot Achranot article translated by Jerusalem Kosher News:
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel last week withdrew objections to the establishment of a new agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Such an agency would oversee the activities of the nation’s mashgichim operating under the umbrella of the local rabbinates nationwide.
State law empowers the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in matters of kashrut. The Chief Rabbinate in turn delegates this authority to local religious councils, and they in turn run a kashrut department which oversees the kashrus in a city/municipality.…
WHAT PROMPTED THE LEGISLATION?
What has prompted the call for revamping the system is the 2008 State Comptroller’s Report that addressed kashrus in a number of cities, including Jerusalem, Rishon L’Tzion and Haifa. The report details serious mishandling of funds. In one case, the rabbi of a city received no less than NIS 1.5 million, his to distribute as he wished.
In another city, 23 members of one family were employed in the state-run kashrus network. The outrageous facts revealed in the report, mishandling and misappropriation of funds prompted MK (Kadima) Otniel Schneller to act – leading to the bill which seeks to revamp the system. He explains that the new system would eliminate the unacceptable practice in which mashgichim are paid by the stores they are supervising, placing them between a rock and a hard place.
[Hat Tip: Joel Katz.]