Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Cheshvan 5768 - November 1, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











MK Gafni Assails Kadima for Trying to Bypass Kashrus Laws

By Eliezer Rauchberger

"You're worse than Shinui," MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni told Knesset Constitution Committee Chairman MK Menachem Ben Sasson and other Kadima members as they discussed a proposal to alter the Kashrut Fraud Law. "You want to eliminate the Jewish character of the State of Israel. You want to destroy religious services, kashrut, the status of the Rabbinate and the rabbis, and this comes after you submitted a budget meant to destroy the Torah and yeshiva world," Rabbi Gafni charged.

The proposal would allow any rabbi to grant a kashrus certificate, rather than keeping this power in the hands of the local State rabbi as the current law requires. Ben Sasson raised the suggestion during a committee meeting on the issue of Shmittah and the Chief Rabbinate Council's decision to allow the local rabbi to decide whether to grant a kashrus certificate to a business that uses heter mechirah products. The decision led to a High Court petition because many local rabbis around the country have refused to grant kashrus certification where the heter mechirah is used.

Ben Sasson sought to bypass the Chief Rabbinate's policy due to his stubborn stance in favor of the heter mechirah, but his idea posed a real threat to the entire kashrus system across the country — and not just during the Shmittah year.

At the end of the meeting Ben Sasson withdrew his proposal rather than bringing it to a vote, because a majority had formed against the law, including other Kadima representatives on the committee.

Rabbi Gafni argued that Ben Sasson and the other supporters of the law constantly preach about honoring the decisions of the legal system and State authorities. "So why is it that when the Chief Rabbinate, which is the legal authority in this matter, reaches a decision that is not to your liking, you try to change the law and bypass this authority? Would you have done the same toward the [High] Court? Of course not. So why are you acting with such hypocrisy in this case?

"You're worse than Shinui. They explicitly presented their position against religion and against the Jewish character of the State. You pretend to be concerned for halacha and religion yet at the same time you seek to destroy the Chief Rabbinate and kashrut in Israel. The move you're trying to lead would do away with the kashrut system in this country and cause the masses of Beis Yisroel to eat neveilos and treifos. The destruction you're trying to bring about is beyond belief."

Turning to MK Ben Sasson he said, "Why don't you hold committee discussions on the Shabbat desecration that prison guards are compelled to do because they are forced to transport and escort prisoners on Shabbat? Isn't Shabbat of interest to you? After all, you're concerned about halacha, so why does only the heter mechirah interest you? Why do you only hold endless discussions on that and try to change laws, but not on the fact prison guards have to travel on Shabbat? Your proposal is a bill to destroy the kashrut system."

Ben Sasson replied that since the Chief Rabbinate is imposing its view on the public, he has no alternative other than to propose an amendment to the law. Rabbi Gafni retorted that the courts impose their view on the public in Israel, yet Ben Sasson would not dare bring a law to take away the courts' authority.


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