Israeli Supreme Court rules: No need for businesses to hold certificates in order to be kosher

An expanded panel of judges ruled by a majority vote that a kosher certificate is no longer a necessary condition in order for a business to be considered kosher. According to the ruling, the authority to grant a kosher certificate is still under the Rabbinate’s responsibility, however, a business that observes religious standards and declares to its customers that it does not hold a certificate may still present itself as a kosher business.
An end of the Kosher inspections? Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90

An expanded panel of Israeli Supreme Court judges ruled yesterday evening (Tuesday) that businesses may present themselves as kosher even if they do not hold an Israeli Chief Rabbinate kosher certificate, so long as they maintain “religious standards” and declare to their customers that they do not possess a Kosher certificate. The underlying meaning of this ruling represents a removal of the Rabbinate’s monopoly on the word “kosher”, but also determines that individual businesses may present themselves as being supervised under kashrut.

Aside from Israeli Supreme Court Chief Justice Miriam Naor, the following judges ruled in favor with a majority vote: Salim Joubran, Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Uri Shoham. Amon the minority voters were Deputy Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein and Noam Sohlberg. However, despite the change in ruling, the judges made clear that there is a prohibition for both businesses with and without kosher certificates that present themselves in writing as kosher from selling non-kosher goods. The judges also clarified that violating these sanctions is an administrative offense punishable by fine.

“The court ruled that a business may not write the word ‘kosher’ or any other kosher representation, but may write the halakhic standards according to which it operates,” stated the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, slamming the court ruling. “Through this ruling, the court harms the consumer who is interested in consuming kosher [products] and is unfamiliar at all with halakhic standards. This is a black day for all kosher consumers in the State of Israel.”



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