“The only way to prevent a wave of anti-shechita legislation in Europe is by explaining the facts,” Rabbi Arie Goldberg told the Knesset committee, headed by Knesset Member Danny Danon (Likud).
The committee meeting was organized to discuss the attempts by various parties, including the Green parties, across Europe to proscribe religious animal slaughter.
“The RCE has been in touch with one of the largest advertizing agencies to lead an experimental campaign in the Netherlands,” Rabbi Goldberg continued.
“However, it is an extremely costly venture and I would expect the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora to share the burden.”
The meeting was initiated by MKs Avraham Michaeli and David Azoulay (Shas), MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) and Jacob Edery (Kadima). Also, in attendance were representatives from the communities and organizations involved in the campaign to halt the wave of legislation against shechita.
Fight against attempted Islamisization
Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, chief rabbi of the Dutch Interprovincial Rabbinate and a senior member of the RCE, came to Israel especially for the committee meeting to share his views on the latest events in Holland.
“The legislation against shechita did not emanate from an anti-Semitic worldview,” Rabbi Jacobs said. “So attacking the Dutch Government as somehow anti-Semitic is only harmful to us.”
Rabbi Jacobs explained that behind the campaign was the fight against the attempted Islamisization of Holland and the desire to protect animal rights.
As of today, the proposed law would prohibit kosher slaughter in the Netherlands, but that such a proscription should be fought on the basis that it contravenes the Dutch Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion for all Dutch citizens.
Apart from the legislation in Holland, there have been repeated attempts to proscribe shechita in Europe, using European Union institutions. The European legislation also requires the electric stunning of an animal before it is slaughtered, which is against Jewish Law.
All the Jewish organizations agreed that although the European Union legislation has not passed thus far, there is a strong chance it will return and there remains the possibility that the legislation could be passed.
Also in attendance at the committee was Alon Nuriel, the representative of Religious Affairs Minister Yakov Margi. Nuriel asked that the committee approach the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to call on them to be more active in the campaigns to prevent the proscription of shechita.
Nuriel also mentioned the recent visit and address by Minister Margi to the European Parliament during the RCE conference to discuss the issue in front of European parliamentarians.