National Union, the most religious branch of Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party, attacked a plan of Israel’s Hotel Association to transfer its kashrus supervision from the Chief Rabbinate to the liberal-Orthodox Tzohar organization. The hotel group recently joined an existing High Court appeal demanding an end to the rabbinate’s kashrus monopoly.
“According to our understanding, kashrus customers in the State of Israel are the country’s citizens and not hotel owning tycoons,” National Unity complained in a letter to Tzohar. “Therefore, your cooperation with this initiative, if such cooperation exists, may well drag the Tzohar organization to places I am sure it doesn’t want to go.”
National Union argued, “When Rav Kook established the Chief Rabbinate, he envisioned the need to give Torah and halacha an official national standing and thus form the Jewish character of the State of Israel. Harming the Chief Rabbinate means to harm this lofty vision.”
MK Elazar Stern of Yesh Atid said in response to the letter’s arguments that Jews in Israel want kashrus, but refuse to pay the costs of a monopoly.
“[The move to create alternative kashrus bodies] began with a private kashrus organization and now Tzohar is joining,” Stern said. “It began with small businesses and now the Hotel Association is taking part. I welcome the initiative.”