A new bill would require Israel’s rabbinate to grant a kashrut certificate to restaurants open on Shabbat, as long as their food is kosher according to Jewish law.
According to the proposal’s sponsor, Knesset Member Elazar Stern of the Hatnua Party, there is need for legislation preventing rabbis from stipulating that restaurants seeking a kosher certificate must observe other mitzvot as well — a requirement that has already been banned by the High Court of Justice.
The suggested amendment to the Kashrut Fraud Prevention Law has already been submitted to the Knesset, and will soon be discussed by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation.
According to the proposal, when a rabbi inspects a restaurant for the purpose of providing a kosher certificate, he will not bring in extraneous considerations, such as whether it is open on Shabbat, the owner’s religious affiliation or opinions, performances or ceremonies held on the premises, etc. A rabbi who violates this order will face a four-month jail sentence or a fine.
Several restaurants in Israel, mainly in the north, already have a kosher certificate for weekdays even though they are open on Shabbat — thanks to some rabbis who agreed to provide certification.
The bill further mentions a High Court decision in which judges ruled the rabbinate cannot toughen its conditions for a kashrut certificate just because a restaurant is owned by a messianic Jew.
“Kashrut is another matter in the state and religion issue which has many aspects requiring amendments to the law,” Stern said. “This bill, which is based on the opinion of important religious-Zionist rabbis, will cause many more restaurants to become kosher, and — in the bottom line — present a Judaism which connects rather than rejects.” — ynetnews.com