Kashrut Supervision Services Bill
The Israel Democracy Institute on the upcoming discussion of the law for regulation of Kashrut supervision services: “The law will create new problems, which will harm the consumer market for kashrut services. The market should be opened up to new competitors and be obligated to full transparency as to their kashrut standards and methods of supervision”.
In anticipation of the expected debate on the Kashrut Supervision Law at the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, the Israel Democracy Institute is calling to amend the bill, so that instead of creating an additional layer of intermediaries, the market will be open, transparent and regulated by Rabbinate authorized rabbis.
In an expert opinion, Dr. Shuki Friedman, director of IDI’s Center for Religion, Nation, and State, stated: “The proposed law misses out on the opportunity for a thorough reform of the Kashrut market. Although the law will resolve the existing conflict of interests between the food industry and the Kashrut supervisors that they employ. It will leave in place current problems in the system, and even create new ones. For example, the proposed law will lead to the establishment of regional authorities that will employ the intermediaries, but it will not really open the kashrut market to the supervision of a variety of rabbis who are authorized by the Chief Rabbinate. "
Dr. Friedman adds that the law creates a serious structural problem in that it distinguishes between the jurisdiction over the kashrut system on the national and local levels. This will create a situation in which there will be no uniform standard and will make it impossible for food chains around the country to adhere to a single standard. Moreover the law does not resolve the kashrut monopoly and lack of competition.
Friedman therefore proposes a more comprehensive reform, which would resolve the conflict of interest between the food industry and the kashrut supervisors, and open up the kashrut market to competition. As part of this reform, every qualified rabbi will be able to supervise kashrut, under rules dictated by the Chief Rabbinate, and through detailed publication of the standard to the general public. Doing so will also deepen trust in the system and allow greater transparency for kashrut consumers, who include most of Israel's Jewish citizens.
For additional reading 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.
Link to the expert opinion in Hebrew.