Israel – Having seemingly agreed upon a solution to his contentious conversion bill, Hatnua MK Elazar Stern had another controversial bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Monday which will allow restaurants to receive a rabbinate kashrut license and stay open on Shabbat.
The current law governing kashrut licensing states that the rabbi giving issuing a rabbinate kashrut license may only take into account the laws of kashrut, but in practice they will not do so if the establishment opens on the Sabbath.
This situation forces many restaurants, bars, and other businesses serving and providing food to choose between bringing in more custom by being kosher or by opening on Shabbat but driving away patrons who only eat in an establishment with a kashrut license.
According to Stern’s bill, the only requirement for a restaurant or other business to get kosher certification would be to serve kosher food.
The MK noted in the explanation to his bill that the Supreme Court has issued rulings to this effect and stated that the decisions of the Council of the Chief Rabbinate to condition kashrut certification on matters not related to food are not legitimate.
Stern’s bill nevertheless takes into account concerns regarding Jewish law and has proposed the use of separate cooking and serving utensils for Shabbat for restaurants that want to be open on Saturday and be kosher.
Kashrut supervisors would be unable to inspect such businesses on Shabbat and so the utensils used for the six days of the week for which its kashrut license is operative could not be used on Shabbat.
Stern said his bill had the support of senior rabbis within the national-religious community and would make Judaism less alienating for the broader public.
Following the approval of the bill, haredi MK Yisrael Eichler called it “part of the war to turn the state into a Reform ghetto.”
“Those who observe the laws of kashrut will not surrender and will not rely on rabbinate kashrut licenses and restaurants will close if they don’t have haredi licenses,” he said.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post