A former chief rabbi, Mordechai Eliahu, ruled that when sesame seeds used to make the tahini paste for hummus are roasted and shelled by non-Jews, the resulting hummus is not kosher, said the aide, Rabbi David Lahiani.
He maintained that when non-Jews are involved in the cooking process of foods, this causes them to be designated non-kosher according to Jewish law.
Meir Micha, chief of the Pinati hummus company, said he thought Eliahu's ruling was only due to a dispute between religious camps.
Eliahu's main rival, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - himself a former chief rabbi - told the Ma'ariv daily flatly that there is no difference between shelled and unshelled sesame seeds, and they're all kosher.
In the past, competing rabbis have issued differing edicts about kosher food partly to solidify the following for their own certificates of approval.
And to line the pockets of their families and close followers …