At a press conference this morning, the heads of the Ministry of Religious Services together with the Chief Rabbi of Israel announced a revolution in the field of Kashrut.

The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau admitted: “There are things that need to be improved. We are here to restore the procedures of the Chief Rabbinate and those who want a higher level of kashrut, will be able to get it. We want quality and reliability in kashrut.

Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett said “This morning we embark on a revolution, to organize the kashrut of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Until now, the topic of kashrut has been been left to run wild, with no clear standards and today we embark on a process of change, to include legislation.”

The first step is three levels of classification in kashrut, to be identified with Stars of David – between Kosher, Mehadrin (premier), and Mehadrin min haMehadrin (most premier). According to Bennett: “Every business, restaurant or falafel stand, can decide on the level of kashrut they desire, and the consumer can decide on the level of kashrut that he wants.”

The second issue is cutting off economic dependence between the supervisor and the premises he is supervising. The supervisor’s salary will no longer come from the businesses, thus avoiding conflict of interest.

Further issues that will be included in the legislation are changing the way of certification to be ‘live and updated’ via digital means with a QR code for  smartphones, and the level of supervision over the supervisors, including reviews, are to increase.

Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan said at the press conference that “most people vote with their feet and want to eat kosher and this is the process we are directing today.”

Even the issue of female kashrut supervisors arose at the press conference, and Rav Lau confirmed and said that “there is Halachic backing to say that women can be supervisors and there is no impediment.” Rabbi Ben Dahan added that from his point of view, the door is open.

 

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