For years the chief rabbinate has prevented women from filling this role, prompting Member of Knesset Aliza Lavie of the Yesh Atid Party to file a petition with the High Court of Justice several months ago, demanding that the chief rabbinate allow women to work as kosher food inspectors. This prompted Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau to walk back the rabbinate's previous ban.
Women Can Work As Kosher Food Inspectors, Chief Rabbi Belatedly Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Speaking earlier today at the annual meeting of owners of catering halls, haredi Ashkenazi Chief of Israel Rabbi David Lau said he sees nothing wrong with employing female kosher food inspectors, Arutz Sheva reported.
But for years the chief rabbinate has prevented women from filling this role, prompting Member of Knesset Aliza Lavie of the Yesh Atid Party and the Zionist Orthodox Emunah Women's Organization to file a petition with the High Court of Justice in July, demanding that the chief rabbinate allow women to work as kosher food inspectors.
Rabbi Lau – speaking in response to the petition by Lavie, which the chief rabbinate was almost certain to lose – said here “is unnecessary” because there is no halakhic reason for the chief rabbinate not to train and authorize women to work as kosher food inspectors.
Halakha allows women to fill that role and outside Israel it is not uncommon to see women filling it. But Israel’s chief rabbinate apparently banned women from filling these roles to protect men’s incomes, using the pretext that women working in kitchens where non-Orthodox and Arab men might also be working was immodest.
Emunah, the Zionist Orthodox women's organization, previously wanted to open a kosher food inspector course for women using the chief rabbinate's existing guidelines and training materials, but the chief rabbinate refused to let it happen.
In January, the IDF decided to begin training women soldier to serve as kosher food inspectors in its kitchens after Israel's Religious Services Ministry agreed to allow women to serve as kosher food inspectors in civilian restaurants and other civilian food establishments. The Religious Services Ministry made that decision after Emunah and Lavie's lawsuit against it and the chief rabbinate was about to be ruled on by the High Court of Justice.