According to the Rabbinate, the Forte café stands to lose its kosher permit due to "a serious incident of preaching and attempting to hand the New Testament to the kashrut supervisor."
The Rabbinate's decision follows a complaint from the Yad L'Achim organization, which fights missionary activity in the State of Israel. According to the organization members, the café hosted activities preaching Christianity and visitors were served with Christian propaganda material in a bid to persuade them to convert.
According to a warning notice posted by Yad L'Achim, the place serves as an example for the fact that "the missionary continues to dip its hoofs in the holy city through its satellites, and everyone, big and small, should be warned to avoid any contact with them."
At first, the Rabbinate faced a legal problem preventing it from revoking the kashrut certificate, because under the law it cannot do so even if the Yad L'Achim claims are true.
However, Yaakov Rochamkin, head of the Jerusalem Religious Council's kashrut department, said he discovered that the café workers had tried to give the New Testament to a Rabbinate worker who serves as a kashrut supervisor, and therefore decided to revoke the kosher permit.
During a visit last week to the café, which was packed, most guests appeared unfazed by the Yad L'Achim protest. One of the diners who works in the building said he did feel attempts to preach religion during his visits to the restaurant. He said one of the diners may have discussed religious issues with the workers.
Alternatively, he said, Yad L'Achim may be trying to prevent businesspeople affiliated with Christianity from opening businesses in the center of Jewish Jerusalem.
The owners' representative and restaurant manager, Stanley Moshe, said in response to the claims that the place does belong indirectly to a Evangelical Christian businessman, but is not affiliated with the missionary and that no such activity takes place in the café.
He added that at the moment the owners prefer to negotiate with the Rabbinate rather than take legal action.
The Chief Rabbinate did not offer a response.