Over 2,000 people have signed a petition, led by Tel Aviv City Council Member Reuven Lediansky, calling on Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to prohibit the ceremonial slaughtering of chickens, as part of the ritual ceremony performed prior to Yom Kippur.
Members of the "Free Ramat Aviv" group, which has been operating in recent years to counter the Haredi takeover of the northern Tel Aviv neighborhood, plans to take whatever legal steps necessary to prevent the slaughtering, if it indeed takes place in public.
Last year the municipality prohibited the ritual in public and it was therefore moved indoors, to a banquet hall, where members of the "Free Ramat Aviv" group had already begun protesting early that morning.
The city plans on permitting the custom this year, but under certain conditions: It can only be performed adjacent to synagogues or markets, within a span of 48 hours prior to the start of the fast and under suitable sanitary conditions.
Adv. Lediansky, the council member leading the petition, wrote in his letter to the mayor that "thousands of chickens will be severely and violently abused. Religious entities plan on performing this ritual throughout the city again this year, including in residential areas, and by doing so will offend many residents of Tel Aviv." Lediansky added that the chickens are often held in small and crowded stalls, sometimes going for days without water of food. He also quoted clause 4 of a Tel Aviv bylaw stating that "the slaughter of chickens is only permitted inside a slaughterhouse."
Tel Aviv City Council Member Rabbi Naftali Lobert insisted the ritual is not barbaric, but rather, religious.
"This is no different than a slaughtered chicken that you consume," he added, "Regarding the chicken's living conditions, take it up with the chicken farmers."
The Tel Aviv Municipality commented: "The municipality's policy is to allow the religious community to perform the ritual for the duration of 48 hours prior to the holiday. As such, the ritual has been authorized in several locations throughout the city, provided the chickens are held inside the stores under suitable conditions and the slaughtering is performed inside the store."
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