Chief Rabbinate: Beware of Phony Oils for Neiros Chanukah


In the State of Israel, the Chief Rabbinate presides over all matters concerning religion. One of the departments of the Chief Rabbinate is responsible for enforcing the law that prohibits kashrus fraud. If the inspectors of this department discover that a butcher shop, for instance, has been selling meat or chicken that it claims to be kosher, but the animals or fowl are actually being slaughtered in an Arab village, or not slaughtered at all, the owner of the shop may be subject to criminal charges in court, as well as a fine. Another violation of this law would be the sale of a bottle, can, or other package with a forged seal of a badatz or some other kashrus agency.

This year, Yated Neeman reports, the kashrus fraud department of the Chief Rabbinate has warned the public to beware of phony oils.

The counterfeit industry skyrockets before Chanukah, as many people market ordinary oils under the guise of olive oil. Olive oil fetches a higher price and is in greater demand, so the perpetrators rake in major profits from these sales.

These are unscrupulous people who, this year, have had no qualms about causing observant Jews to lose a precious mitzvah. And once they are defrauding their customers by falsely labeling their products as olive oil, they have seen nothing wrong with adding the forged seal of a rabbinate or badatz somewhere in the country.

With the utmost audacity and without the slightest pangs of conscience, they have proceeded to pass off other kinds of oil as olive oil with a top-notch hechsher.

These offenses are repeated every year, and the kashrus fraud department of the Chief Rabbinate exposes the fraudsters and warns the public year after year about their schemes.

It should be pointed out that the kashrus fraud department of the Chief Rabbinate focuses solely on warning the public about forgeries, rather than working on deterrence as well. It is very helpful that they publicize the fact that there are fake oils on the market, and they even disseminate pictures of the forged products they have intercepted. However, that is not the way to put an end to this terrible phenomenon. If the kashrus inspectors would insist on filing complaints with the police, if they would pursue the matter relentlessly until criminal charges were pressed against the perpetrators of these forgeries, then the counterfeiters would be convicted and sentenced for their crimes, and there would be a powerful disincentive for such offenses. The number of forgeries would decrease dramatically; in fact, the phenomenon might even cease altogether. But when the only sanction used against them is a monetary fine, it merely invites further forgeries. The fraudsters will never have a reason to stop their criminal work, since the forgeries will always be profitable for them, regardless of the fines.

{ Israel News}



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