Rabbi Amar slams High Court's intervention in kashrut affairs
High Court of Justice judges order rabbis to reissue kashrut certificate for business owned by messianic Jew, against rabbis' judgment, Chief Rabbinate's stance. Chief Rabbi Amar appeals to MKs in letter claiming court's interference in such matters should be stopped through legislation
Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar addressed Knesset members Wednesday asking them to draft a bill which would prevent the High Court of Justice's interference in matters pertaining to kashrut, which are under the Chief Rabbinate's authority. This, following a court ruling which forced rabbis to issue kosher certificates against their judgment.
In a letter sent to MKs of all factions – religious and secular – Amar claimed that the High Court has disrupted the field of kashrut and stated that the only solution would be legislation that would prevent any similar future involvement.
Rabbi Amar protested against a court ruling which ordered the rabbinate in Ashdod and Gan Yavne to reissue a kashrut certificate for a business owned by Pnina Konforti, a messianic Jew, which had been revoked. Amar claimed that it was not the first time that the High Court interfered in kashrut related decisions.
The letter was sent following the Chief Rabbinate's request to hold a new hearing on the matter, which was denied. The rabbinate then decided to pursuit the matter in the Knesset.
According to Rabbi Amar the judges' basic claim was that the kashrut law wasn't religious but a secular law, and was therefore not subject to halachic standards. In his letter he also presented the rabbinate's stance according to which the woman whose business' certificate was revoked was a member of a missionary cult aimed at converting Jews.
In such a case, the rabbi claimed, it wasn't possible to ensure that the laws of kashrut were being maintained since "such a person would always find a way to cause sin."
He therefore maintained that "a worthy bill should be drafted to properly address the state of kashrut, lest it become a joke."
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger also expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs during a conference in Jerusalem Wednesday. He criticized the High Court judges for their decision on the Konforti case.
Konforti, who owns two bakery shops, petitioned to the Supreme Court last June against the Chief Rabbinate and two local rabbinates, which she claimed revoked her businesses' kashrut certificates because of her religious beliefs.
In her appeal she claimed that her religious belief could not be used as a valid reason to revoke her kashrut certificate.
The Supreme Court granted her appeal and ordered the Rabbinate to pay her NIS 200,000 in legal fees. The judges wrote in their ruling that: "The Rabbinate's conduct indicates that as far as it is concerned only Jews can receive this much coveted kashrut certificate."
They also ordered the Rabbinate to issue Konforti a certificate as long as she adheres to the usual requirements.