Press Release

Preserving the Rabbinate’s monopoly over the kashrut market: the consumer will be the one to pay

The Israel Democracy Institute on the Ministry of Finance and Rabbinate's decision to preserve the Rabbinate’s monopoly over the kashrut market in Israel: the consumer will be the one to pay

Dr. Shuki Friedman, director of IDI’s Center for Religion, Nation, and State, who has researched the Kashrut market extensively, said that the Ministry of Finance and the Rabbinate’s current proposal to enable between 3-5 private entities a monopoly would worsen the already problematic situation of the kashrut market in Israel. De facto, this proposal preserves the Rabbinate’s monopoly over the Kashrut market, while decreasing accountability and transparency of the supervisor’s work.

In a previous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that kashrut supervisors cannot be employed by the restaurants that they supervise. The state, who is not interested in recruiting hundreds of new supervisors, claims to resolve this problem by having private entities employ the supervisors instead. These private entities, controlled by the ultra-Orthodox, will enjoy a regional monopoly, whereas organizations such as Tzohar, who are more lenient and offer competitive prices, will be unable to compete.

In Israel the consumer market for kashrut services is large and demand for it is growing. This market must be open to allow new organizations to compete, just as they do in the United States and around the world. Companies should be obligated to provide full transparency as to their kosher standards and methods of supervision. Such an economic model would allow the consumer to enjoy the fruits of a competitive market – variety and lower prices.

In short – we have to get the state off our plate!

For more you can see the English abstract on pages 137-144
Are you Kosher? A Critique of Israel’s Kashrut Industry and Recommendations for Reform
By Shuki Friedman and Ariel Finkelstein