The Knesset's State Control Committee on Monday discussed the state comptroller's report no. 59 regarding the function of the kashrut system in Israel.
Committee chairman Knesset Member Otniel Schneller (Kadima) opened the meeting by saying that he would work towards mending the impairments the report points to by legislating laws to regularize the Jewish dietary laws system, sorting the kosher inspectors' work, cancelling the conflict of interests between inspectors and places of business under inspection, amplifying enforcement of the prohibition of the kosher fraud law and addressing the problem of rabbis engaging in other lines of unauthorized business in the kosher field.
Schneller congratulated State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on "super-important work" and added that he intends to convene the committee for a series of sessions in the purpose of solving the issues. "I hope that when we finish the job I could recommend to my family to go back and eat in the restaurants of this country," the MK said.
Knesset member Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) commented on the report's findings: "We should be ashamed that this is the State of Israel's kosher system. We shall fight within the committee to uphold the law and make the most of our ability to remedy the impairments since these are matters of martyrdom or blasphemy."
Orlev added that he believed the kosher system was the cornerstone for the existence of religious institutions in Israel, but urged his colleagues not to "champion the wrong things. This is our image." The MK also stated that should the matter not be solved - "then what good are local rabbinates and the Chief Rabbinate's kosher section?"
MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said he believed the purpose was not amending all of the deficiencies, but sullying the kosher system's name. He claimed that "procedural malfunctions and fear of conflict of interests exist in every state authority such as external medical committees being paid by the Natural Insurance Institute."
He went on to stress, "We are in favor of amendment", and pointed to cases in which the rabbinate itself handled impairments before they were pointed by the comptroller.
Drawing up procedures
Ministry of Religious Affairs Director-General Asher Ohana stated that the ministry was drawing up procedures to solve all of the impairments in collaboration with the Chief Rabbinate and has already devised a draft regarding kosher systems in religious councils." Ohana said that the steps would induce an overthrow.
Chief Rabbinate Director-General Oded Weiner addressed the employment of kosher inspectors by places of business and said, "We have been discussing a solution for the current situation for 10 years in the rabbinate, but the Finance Ministry and the Civil Service Commission have foiled an agreement ready to be adopted by all other elements since they refused to hire the functionaries for state service."
Weiner further stated that the Chief Rabbinate is severely understaffed which prevents them from meeting elementary needs prompting just criticism.
Shimon Oldman, the Chief rabbinate's legal advisor claimed that the law enforcement system was thwarting their attempts to regularize enforcement by the State Prosecutor's Office not discussing any complaints filed by the rabbinate on kosher fraud.