Gafni Protests Kashrus Reform in State Budget

YERUSHALAYIM -
Rabbi Moshe Gafni, chairman of United Torah Judaism, in the Knesset. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As the state budget bill for the next two years was submitted to the Knesset on Tuesday, United Torah Judaism leader Rabbi Moshe Gafni protested a provision for reform of kosher certification, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In a letter to Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), Rabbi Gafni objected to inclusion of the reform in omnibus legislation rather than being considered separately.

“The issue of what is kosher has nothing to do with the budget,” he wrote. “Please separate it from the arrangements bill and enable a proper debate on this divisive issue.”

A spokesman for Levy said he received Gafni’s request and had not yet made a decision.

The Israeli chief rabbinate and the chareidi parties have strongly opposed the reforms, which are designed to wrest control of kashrus supervision from the rabbinate and authorize private groups to certify restaurants and food factories, which they warn would drastically undermine standards.

Kashrus is not the only contentious issue in the budget, and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) met with coalition party heads on Tuesday to seek compromises that will facilitate passage.