MK Rabbi Gafni to Bennett: Do Something About Treif Food on IDF Bases

IDF artillery on the Golan Heights. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

In a letter to Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni appealed to cancel a permit recently issued by the IDF Chief Rabbinate that allows non-kosher food to be stored in refrigerators on outlying IDF bases. “This recent order contravenes everything that has been accepted since the establishment of the state, with the status quo setting that IDF kitchens remain kosher,” the letter said. “The new order allows non-kosher meat, even ‘davar acher,’” a term denoting pork, “into IDF bases.”

The permit was issued last month by the IDF Chief Rabbinate in response to pressure from secular groups. Most IDF bases today use caterers to supply food to soldiers; the permit relates to small, outlying bases where catering services are not available. The permit includes a list of requirements that soldiers are supposed to comply with in order to store their food. Among them: All preparation of non-kosher food must be made in a separate area of the kitchen; food must be stored in a sealed package or vessel; food can be eaten only with disposable utensils; and food cannot be heated in ovens, microwaves, etc.

MK Rabbi Gafni said in his letter than the setup was a recipe for a kashrus disaster. “IDF kitchens are public spaces, and it is for this reason they were kept kosher for all these years. Any halfway intelligent person knows that you cannot have a ‘half-kosher’ kitchen. I appeal to you to look into this matter and ensure that the status quo IDF kashrus is restored and preserved,” the letter said.