On Sunday, the High Court of Justice is slated to hear the petition of restaurants that want to be allowed to sell their food as “kosher but not under rabbinic supervision.” Israel's haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate and both haredi political parties strong oppose the restaurants' petition and are demanding the government pass a new stronger kosher food law that would force restaurants to get official kosher supervision from the Chief Rabbinate or from one of its local satellites.
High Court Likely To Hear Controversial Kosher Food Case Sunday
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Israel’s Attorney General Eliyahu Weinstein told the High Court of Justice that a restaurant has the right to advertise itself as kosher even if it does not have kosher supervision from the official government rabbinate, Yeshiva World reported.
Israel’s haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate and both haredi political parties oppose Weinstein’s position, in large part because they fear many restaurants and other venues would choose to self-supervise or hire a local Modern Orthodox rabbi to supervise its kitchen rather than hire a private haredi kosher supervision company.
As it now stands, Israel’s kosher food law prohibits such private kosher supervision, but haredi rabbis formed their own private kosher supervision companies anyway and have been providing such private kosher supervision for decades, and the state has turned a blind eye to it.
That and the excesses of the official state rabbinates in many cities, committed largely after they fell into haredi control, has prompted restaurant and food stall owners to rebel and try to either sell their food as "kosher but without rabbinic supervision" or hire a liberal Orthodox rabbi to provide the supervision privately. That prompted the Chief Rabbinate's 'kosher food police' to fine and try to shut down these nonconforming restaurants. In response, some of the nonconforming restaurants petitioned the High Court of Justice for relief. The High Court of Justice is slated to hear that petition Sunday.
Attorney General Weinstein supported that petition in a brief filed with the High Court this week, and it is widely believed the restaurants will win.
That possibility prompted the Sefardi haredi Shas Party and the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party to work on an emergency basis to pass a new stricter kosher food law – opposed by Weinstein – that would force restaurants and other food providers that would force restaurants to get official kosher supervision from the Chief Rabbinate or from one of its local satellites. Otherwise, the proposed law would forbid them from advertising their food as kosher.